Dates and Venue March 5 at 8pm, March 6 at 3pm, March 7 at 8pm & March 8 at 7.30pm | Norman & Annette Rothstein Theatre

Dancers Brandon Alley, Tina Finkelman Berkett, Melissa Bourkas, Michele Carter, Bynh Ho, Lindsey Matheis, Miguel Perez, Guzman Rosado, and Andrew Wojtal

Choreography Richard Siegal, Kyle Abraham, Joshua L. Peugh and Victor Quijada Costumes Kyle Abraham and Leon Wiebers Lighting Design Mitchell Bogard, Dan Scully, and Burke Wilmore

Reviewer John Jane

After mesmerizing audiences at last year’s Chutzpah Festival with their sensual dance vocabulary, Bodytraffic returns to the same venue with a brand new programme featuring four distinctly different choreographers. The Los Angeles dance company formed around eight years ago by co artistic directors Lillian Barbeito, who no longer dances, and Tina Finkelman Berkett, who still does.

A sequence from Kollide
Photo: Tomasz Rossa

In the first work titled The New 45 by Richard Siegal, Ms Berkett takes the stage, initially solo, with a whimsical, loosely choreographed jazz dance. She looked as if she was having a good time – and why not? To a recorded score comprising of Clark Terry’s flugelhorn, Oscar Peterson’s piano and Harry Belafonte’s roguish voice, she displayed a unique aesthetic to Siegal’s choreography. Partnered by Andrew Wojtal, then Guzman Rosado, Ms Berkett showed off some stylish jive moves.

In contrast, Kyle Abraham’s epic centerpiece Kollide is more intense. Essentially non-linear, it metes out a nebulous narrative that explores the basic human need of intimacy. Set to a trance-inducing industrial score by Icelandic cellist Hildur Guðnadóttir and music producer Valgeir Sigurðsson, Kollide serves up kinetic movement. The five dancers, among them new recruit Michele Carter, demonstrated balance, strength and precise timing.

Following a brief intermission, the entire company of dancers presented a first public performance of Joshua L. Peugh’s A Trick of the Light. Part theatre, part dance, the work is inspired by the magical moment when the afternoon ends and the evening begins. Commencing with Pollack and Webster’s sleepy "Two Cigarettes in the Dark," paired dancers incorporated artful camp in Peugh’s capricious dance syntax that included aspects of ballroom.

In Victor Quijada’s evocative Once again, before you go, two male dancers (Brandon Alley and Andrew Wojtal) used every square foot of the stage floor in a seductive display of two bodies coming together in a single psyche. When three more dancers (two male, one female) join, Quijada’s urban choreography became more instinctive and rather less disciplined.

All performers displayed sensuous physicality with each bringing a distinct aesthetic dimension to the choreographers' works. After the show, the dancers generously made themselves available to meet members of the audience who cared enough to stay.

© 2015 John Jane