Alaska choreographed by Diana Szeinblum Nov 6, 2009

by Tania Kupczak

If we examine the darkness in us, where does it go? Does it inflame it? Does it release? Does it spread it around? Although melancholy hangs in the air, the darkness in Alaska is beautiful as it passes out of the bodies of the four dancers in the work. There is pain and there is pleasure, but this organic work gives us time to look and to see the heartache as it escapes. Dancers repeat movement with such commitment and fire that emotion burns through the space.

At the very opening, Alejandra Ferreeyra Ortiz stands and dives her upper body down between her legs throwing her arms and flying her hair. She flies out to us and looks back to her companion and every time she comes up for air we want to catch her before she falls. To say that Alaska is depressing would be misleading. Although everyone does seems a bit depressed, the piece feels more like a leap from a dark place than the dark place itself. Dancers thrash their way to the ecstatic and there are also many moments of sensuality and humor. Apparently, you can’t get out of pain without going through some real pain first. Like little births, twisting and squeezing through the small openings that others provide to escape and torquing every limb available are some of the pressured ways out. Some highlights include a combat striptease, surprising kisses, and a mating dance with spoons.

There were also a few WTF moments like a table that makes a dramatic entrance and then has nothing more to contribute but an awkward strike. And a musician that does a quite distracting cross over in front of the solo performer in the middle of the last solo. But these are minor errors. I could have easily watched for another half hour and I get bored easily. I left wanting more. The performers, Ortiz, Leticia Mazur, Lucas Condro and Pablo Lugones, although somewhat detached from the whole experience, were so accomplished that watching them do anything would be interesting. The music by Ulises Conti created a suspended world, heavy with anticipation and real aching beauty. Szeinblum has an aesthetic that allows for all kinds of random quirkiness but the work maintains a clear link to its creative source of the chaos of memories, emotions, sensations and experiences that are never visited.

- Louis Gervais

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