Sunday, November 15, 2015

In their skin: BAAD! presents works by men of color

Jonathan González
(photo courtesy of the artist)
Benjamin Lundberg
(photo: Jeca Rodríguez-Colón)

In Our Skin--a one-evening show presented at BAAD! with Pepatián for the 2015 BlakTinX Performance Series--offered a rare and important opportunity. The event focused on works by young male choreographers and performance artists of color--Benjamin Lundberg, Gentry George (who showed several short pieces), Alvaro González Dupuy, Eduardo Fajardo and Jonathan González. The run-on format--two hours with no intermission--should be rethought as it became tedious, poorly serving works presented late in the program. Why not distribute the lineup of artists over at least two evenings of reasonable length--say, no more than 90 minutes--allowing breathing room for both these artists and their audiences?

In a program ranging from Lundberg drawing vials of his own blood to mix with dishwashing liquid as a painting medium (Limpieza de Sangre) to queer chatterbox Fajardo charmingly singing and dancing along to a cumbia hit he later questions for its misogyny (CABARET), George's solos and duets stood out for conventional polish--the look of Ailey crossed with contemporary ballet--and the remarkable facility of their performers. In Our Skin certainly could not be faulted for lack of variety in approach to performance.

Chilean, New York-based Alvaro González Dupuy was, for me, the strongest discovery and pleasure of the evening. In Dame la Mano and i give you my elbow--his duet with equally vivid Emily Smith--stream-of-contact, genial roughhousing and audience involvement yielded unexpected freshness. I would welcome the chance to see more from this mind.

Jonathan González's curious deep divine shows him to be a clean, feline mover with an interest in engaging the possibilities of his environment and messing with the way we understand sound, lighting and the body in theater space. Sorry to say, by this point, the lengthy evening found me feeling captive, low in energy and unprepared to give my best attention. But González--recently seen in Patricia Hoffbauer's Dances for Intimate Spaces and Friendly People at Gibney--has some new projects coming up in 2016. Worth getting on your radar.

Closed. For information on remaining BlakTinX Performance Series programs (closing November 21), click here.

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