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BODYTRAFFIC program showcases company's dynamic drive

by Lewis J Whittington
November 16, 2015
Prince Theater
1412 Chestnut Street
Philadelphia, PA 19102
(215) 422-4580
Returning from their five week tour in Jordan and Israel, the Los Angeles based dance troupe BODYTRAFFIC captivated at the Prince Theater, new home of Dance Affliates' Next Move series. BODYTRAFFIC's co-artistic director Tina Finkelman Berkett and Lillian Rose Barbeiro’s current tour program, November 4-8, proved a great sampler that highlighted the company’s impressive choreographic range and the ensemble’s versatile technique.

Berkett dances in the concert opener, choreographer Richard Siegal’s jaunty "New 45," scored to a jazz and art song mix. Berkett teasingly turned to the audience as to a staccato spotlight, before she followed the jazz vocalese riffs, freeform and with witty choreographic punctuation.

Andrew Wojtal joined Berkett and they moved in and out of lithe unison lines and elegant soft shoe variants. Their warm chemistry and flinty syncopation most potent dancing to a '60s era instrumental of Kurt Weill's "Mack the Knife" and showing off thier cool blue moves.

Choreographer Victor Quijada’s "Once again, before you go," set to a propulsive score by Jasper Gahunia with dancers Berkett, Guzman Rosado, James Gregg, Joseph Kundra came next.

As a choreographer, Quijada continues to expand as an artist moving beyond the streetdance pyrotechnics characteristic his company RUBBERBANDance. His movement vocabulary was compelling and dynamic on BodyTraffic. 'Once again…' exemplar of his fluency in mixed genres. The dancers sustained refined control of Quijada’s dialogues of capoiera and adagio hip-hop.

Stijn Celis’ ethereal "Fragile Dwellings" set to chorale music by Arvo Part had atmospherics that suggested passage to other consciousness or realms, but was actually about homelessness.

Dancer Matthew Rich walked on the perimeter of the stage in a mist and his body seemed to melt down to the floor. The sequence concluded with his dramatically lithe patterns that seemed like meditative ritual. Four dancers each performed solos that hinted at expressing passage from turmoil. Celis’ template was laced with eloquent adagio movement that read like tai chi variants.

In Joshua L. Peugh’s retro-pastiche dance “A Trick of the Light” - the b-side to his hit "Slump" - set to 50s era music by Peggy Lee, Nelson Riddle and others, featured women costumed in poufy gowns and men in colorful golf cardigans. The scene belied innocence as the dancers bopped around the furtive sexuality of the '50s.
They switched partners, there was a funsies gay subplot always underfoot. One dancer extended his leg, absurdly, and pressed his foot, perhaps suggesting foot fetishism into another man’s face.

The ensemble configurations may looked variety show squeaky clean, but Peugh had a field day jabbing and deconstructing gender roles and sexual repression of the purportedly squeaky clean culture. All-the-while Peugh’s sense of whimsy and musicality rode along an infectious sardonic edge.
BODYTRAFFIC dancers in Richard Siegal's 'The New 45.'

BODYTRAFFIC dancers in Richard Siegal's "The New 45."


BODYTRAFFIC dancers in Joshua L. Peugh's 'A Trick of the Light.'

BODYTRAFFIC dancers in Joshua L. Peugh's "A Trick of the Light."


BODYTRAFFIC dancers in Joshua L. Peugh's 'A Trick of the Light.'

BODYTRAFFIC dancers in Joshua L. Peugh's "A Trick of the Light."


BODYTRAFFIC dancers in Victor Quijada's 'Once again, Before you go.'

BODYTRAFFIC dancers in Victor Quijada's "Once again, Before you go."


BODYTRAFFIC dancers in Victor Quijada's 'Once again, Before you go.'

BODYTRAFFIC dancers in Victor Quijada's "Once again, Before you go."


BODYTRAFFIC dancers in Stijn Celis''Fragile Dwellings.'

BODYTRAFFIC dancers in Stijn Celis'"Fragile Dwellings."

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