The final work of the 2013-2014 season, White Bird presented Ballet Hispanico at the Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall on the last day of April. It seems fitting. The weather just beginning to heat up, the city starting to come alive in the rush of spring, it is a perfect time to spend an evening celebrating Latino culture on the stage.
The program begins with Asuka, an exploration into the struggle of leaving behind ones home and the reward of finding community in the process. I found it challenging to see the struggle. Considering the music of Celia Cruz filling the space with such joy, so full of life. The dancers in an array of bright and vibrant colors. Full skirts twirling, like flowers in full bloom. I sensed the humor, the joy and exuberance.
Ahh, but then there is the static, the radio dial searching for the station and filling the moments in between. The subtleties of the drama unfolding. A push off the stage. A sense of being lost within the commotion. I began to imagine I was watching an avant-garde musical number in a provocative and humorous Broadway show. The dancers moved with the fullness of their body, wide open and ready to be swept away.
Sombrerisimo ha hats. Bowler hats. Plenty of fun tricks and comical machismo. A bunch of fellows dancing together. There were even hand claps and thigh slaps. The lighting cast big smokey shadows above the dancers and encouraged my mind to project Broadway infused into this Ballet.
El Beso, the second performance, starts with a curiosity. Playful and alluring. Leading into peculiar relationship dynamics revolving around the kiss. Have you watched the mating dances of birds? I would like to think those strange birds were an inspiration to the choreographer. The body reaching out to fill the space, like the puffing of the chest and the fluffing of feathers. The quirky movements, the strutting, the push and pull of emotions. I liked the contrast of the dark blue and black modern costume designs with the lighthearted and excitable energy of the dancing. Yes, spring is indeed in the air.
White Bird’s 2014-2015 season begins this coming October. For more information, please visit www.WhiteBird.org.