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Blurred 2008 Eitland

Blurred Borders Dance Festival 2008 at Saville Theater
Festival is Rincon’s best yet
By Kris Eitland

SanDiego.com Dance Review
Posted on Jun 04 2008

The ninth edition of the Blurred Borders Dance Festival offered three vivid dances and a video that had the crowd cheering at the Saville Theater last weekend. Dancers mirrored architecture, whirled light fixtures, and made fun of our mind-numbing addiction to Television and all things electronic. The beautiful video transported viewers to another world with images so potent you wanted to stand up and tango. This installment of Blurred Borders was clearly the festival’s most engaging program ever.

Presented by the Patricia Rincon Dance Collective, the program featured choreographers Patricia Rincon and Yolande Snaith, the stellar Mexican company Lux Boreal, and video artist Paula Zacharias from Buenos Aries.

The program opened with Rincon’s premiere of “Tres y Quatro,” an ensemble work for dancers Deven Brawley, Keeley Campbell, Kristopher D. Ross, and Justin Viernes. Recently, the four performed splendidly in Rincon’s “The Myth Project,” so it was a joy to see their fine interactions again. The strongest sequences were geometric – jumping into arcs with their heads thrown back and stretching into lifts as human towers, their limbs mirroring video of buildings projected onto two portholes. Brawley was mesmerizing as he slithered his loose arms and delicate fingers. Campbell added spicy contrast with sharp turns and solid core stances. Rincon’s vocabulary included wonderful repetition such as hand-to-hip leans and finger counting gestures. A quirky score by Donald Nicholas incorporated counting in foreign languages. It’s garbled “uno…eins…zwei…tres” and traffic noises set the dancers adrift in countries around the world and land in Argentina.

The transition from their dance to the sharply edited video “Waiting” wasn’t particularly smooth. Still, their two rhythms felt continuous. One expected the dancers to interact or dance in front of the video, which is so often the case these days. Instead, Rincon smartly let the works stand on their own.

Gone were the two portholes. On full screen, a gorgeous Latina with smoldering eyes fondles her hair and chin to begin a surreal tour of old and new Buenos Aries. She longs to tango like everyone else in town, but doesn’t fit in at the local clubs known as “milongas.” After wonderful close-ups of black and white dance shoes, she frolics barefoot in a park, suggesting literally that “we don’t need no stinkin’ shoes,” and dance is freedom. The video grew out of Rincon’s visit to the city. Together with video artists Paula Zacharias and Osvaldo Ponce, the film captures the essence of Argentina better than any travel guide.

A Blurred Borders Festival isn’t complete without Lux Boreal, a troupe out of Tijuana that performed at the festival in 2005. Athletic, attractive and intensely likeable, the troupe has become highly respected throughout Mexico and San Diego. Their collaborations with choreographers such as Allyson Green and performances at Trolley Dances and Sushi’s 4X4 have made them local favorites. The six-year-old company tackles serious topics in works such as the allegorical “Flowers of 7 Leaves” about the deadly drug trade, but is just as strong in upbeat themes. In “Natural Breakdown,” the company revealed its rare chemistry and spot-on timing in a comical setting. Raul Navarro portrayed a TV-addicted punk who’s glued to a puffy chair. The fascination was watching his frustrated parents, Azalea Lopez and Henry Torres, wage war against the boob tube and evil chair. Their melodramatic flashing eyes and over the top huffing and puffing were wildly funny. And Navarro remained planted even as three dancers rumbled and rolled beneath him, with only their feet exposed. Directed by Angel Arambula, the visual candy continued with more dancers twisting in groovy conversation on imaginary cell phones. They never missed a beat even in fast jumps and quick kicks, like smooth go-go dancers waiting for a bus.

Snaith brought her unique brand of artistry, a style that I’ll call dance suspense. She teaches dance at UCSD, but began her career in London. She’s choreographed for film and creates dances like a filmmaker and painter. “Hanging in the Balance” was pure Snaith in that it grew in intensity and played visual tricks with lighting and sharp contrasts. It opened with a single light hanging over a body (Kristopher D. Ross). To the mysterious drone of a didgeridoo, dancers took turns swinging the light as a knife-like pendulum. Ross flailed as a giant larva beneath it, and with each swing avoided a collision with amazing timing.

Dressed in variations of red and black, the dancers moved as Shamans performing an ancient ritual. Arcing bodies mimicked the swinging lamp wire until Ross was finally revived. The action grew with giant scooping arms and gestures of fluid hands and fingers. Ross, who was at first trapped under the light, relished his new freedom. Harpsichord music by Handel took the dancers through the ages, driving them to change direction. Windmill arms propelled them across the stage and into jumps. Justin Viernes seemed to laugh at gravity in exquisite leaps. Veronica-Lamm was captivating throughout this demanding work that cleverly balanced sharp angles with breathtaking softness. Even standing still, her eyes drew us into the unknown dimension.

The Patricia Rincon Dance Collective will co-present Emerge Festival V, October 11, 2008. The showcase of emerging choreographers is held at the Garfield Theatre in La Jolla. Artists include: Alicia Arguilla, Rebecca Bruno, Anthony Diaz, Tricia Frazier, Dina Academia, Ahmiel Semien, Keely Campbell, Kristopher D. Ross, and Dana Lossing.

(Kris Eitland’s critiques and features have appeared in Dance Magazine, Dance San Diego Magazine, San Diego CityBeat, sandiegotheaterscene.com, and sandiego.com since 2006. Her writing career includes stints in both commercial and public radio news. She studied dance extensively at the University of Minnesota-Duluth and SDSU and holds a journalism degree.)