Saturday, September 12, 2015

Taking a chance on Carol Mendes at La MaMa

Carol Mendes & Artists
(photo: Nicolas Pirata)

Carol Mendes & Artists--the young company premiering LANOTTE+VERSO at La MaMa--is new to me, a happy discovery. Brazil-born Mendes, a Tisch grad, has promising talent and self-assurance. Moreover, she's blessed with dancers who completely get her.

In LANOTTE, Liszt is the jam for a trio of corvid-like women--Frankie FernandesLauren Elise Kravitz and Erika Wuhrer--winged in black evening dresses. With a few winks and a silent scream to boot, they invoke the likes of Isadora and all Romantic, emotion-laden impulse in modern dance. And that's fun. But I think what Mendes means to get at here is the double-edged stuff that lies beneath her own surface and the art she's making. She hints at that again in her Interlude|Intermission, interjected between the program's two works, where she dances with and for a volunteer from the audience. A little awkward in its setup, this segment nevertheless shimmers with strangeness and command of the moment.

Opening the evening, LANOTTE might be a fair enough intro to the troupe, at once highlighting the dancers' formal technique and their madcap, go-for-it! drive. But Mendes's real calling card is VERSO, a clearer representation of her eccentricities and a proving ground for her dancers. Pantherish and punkish, their whimsy alternates with intrigue.

LANOTTE+VERSO continues through tomorrow, September 13, with performances tonight at 7:30pm and tomorrow at 3:30pm. For information and tickets, click here.

The First Floor Theatre @ La MaMa
74A East 4th Street (between Bowery and Second Avenue), Manhattan

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