Saturday, June 2, 2012

Anabella Lenzu premieres "Sangre & Arena"

In Sangre & Arena (Blood & Sand), Argentine-born choreographer Anabella Lenzu proudly works from an aesthetic associated more with the "classical" modern dance of Humphrey, Limón and Graham than with the intents and strategies of New York's contemporary dance makers. And Lenzu's 40-minute trio, given its world premiere last evening at Duo Multicultural Arts Center, looks backward even farther than those pioneering antecedents. Inspired by Roman Mithraic myth and ritual, the work evokes ancient, cathartic rites employing masks of fearsome animal gods; arresting movement gestures; heightened sounds of swirling wind, hypnotic chimes and terrifying gongs; nature-emulating cycles of repetition; and a profusion of blood--or what frightened initiates might easily take for real blood--used to effect lasting transformation.

Fellow dancers Lauren Ohmer and Julia Lindpaintner join Lenzu--disclaimer: she is currently one of my writing students at New York Live Arts--on Duo's little stage in the intimate theater. Ohmer and Lindpaintner's bodies get wildly smeared with paint as their behavior becomes more abandoned. Lighting (by Stephen Petrilli) and the dancers' thrashing in vivid tempera create three-dimensional art come to life. Lindpaintner's robust sturdiness is impressive, but Ohmer's precise, electric shapes make her the most watchable of the three.

Anabella Lenzu/DanceDrama continues at Duo tonight at 8pm and with a 2pm matinee tomorrow. For information and tickets, click here.

Duo Multicultural Arts Center
62 East 4th Street (between Bowery and Second Avenue), Manhattan

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