Guest Review: I’ll Have What She’s Having

Friday March 19th 2011

By Jamuna Dasi

Last night I went to see “I’ll have what she’s having…” a dance project for women choreographer’s 40 and over, at the Yvonne Theater at Rider University. I decided to take a non judgmental approach to this review because I don’t want to hurt or stop anyone from self expression. It is such a personal art and sometimes we need to do it in a safe non judge mental environment for our own self-fulfillment. With that said I do want to encourage the choreographers to push the boundaries a little more and really go the distance. I would really like to see more movement and less performance art. Being over 40 really isn’t an excuse it’s just a number.

The Dance Project highlighted works of Mercer County residents and a few from other corners of New Jersey. Included in the list of choreographers is Marie Alonzo and Linda Mannheim of West Windsor, Lisa Botalico, Christine Colosimo and Joy Sayen of Princeton, Kim Leary of The Drum and Dance Learning Center of Lawrence, Fara Lindsay of Old Bridge, Lynn Needle and Olivia Galgano of Art of Motion in Ridgewood, Shari Nyce of Nyce Bodies in Pennington, and Loretta Di Bianca Fois of Branchburg and
dance faculty at Raritan Valley Community College.

Colosimo, the director of the Princeton YWCA dance program and founder of the project, says “that when push comes to shove, dancers must continue dancing forever, even if technique fails. It’s simply who we are.”

This is the premise of “I’ll have what she’s having…” dance project. 12 dances, 10 choreographers, 30 dancers, 2 hours and a lot of energy and work, equal a varied and extremely personal dance concert. There is a place for every dancer in the dance world and this group has found that place.

Notable dances of the evening-

Cuadro by Lisa Botalico was performed as a trio in the traditional flamenco style. This dance was based on the performance format that dates back to the café cantantes, where dancers, singers and guitarists — sitting on stage — would take turns performing, supported by other artists. My favorite part of this dance was Lisa Botalico dancing her solo in silence in her crisp white suite, Fedora and cane. It was much more powerful to hear the rhythms of her feet without the interference of any other music.

In Crispy Water and Sugary Air, by Marie Alonzo, a quartet of dancers was accompanied by 4 black cubed boxes that were moved around to create an ever changing set design. My favorite part of this dance was when the cast created a moving walk way for another dancer, adding a new cube in front each time she took a step.

Christine Colosimo’s Untitled White was strange and bizarre. It had an interesting combination of red go go boots, a giant white skirt, lady Godiva wig, white masks, and music by Bubba Sparxxx,
Ambroise Thomas, ying Yang Twinds, Zbigniew Preisner, Schumann, and Lil Wayne — along with projections photographed by Amelie Waldberg of naked Barbies in compromised positions. This dance was dedicated” to all women who are abused, priviledged or underpriviledged, all alike.” My take is that it was about the objectification of women or something along those lines.

Lamma Bada
, choreographed and danced by Kim Leary, was a beautiful middle eastern style solo accompanied by a large red silk scarf. Her use of the scarf was creative and varied. Her movement was in tune with the music and she caught just the right accents in the music with her body and the scarf as she was dancing. This simple and refreshing dance was musical, entertaining and beautiful to watch.

Notable dancers of the evening were Henri Velandia and Abdiel Jacobsen in “One’s Upon Times” choreographed by Marie Alonzo. They were supple in tuned dancers with beautiful technique. They danced poetically together in a creative duet about gay and lesbian binational couples fighting deportation.

Another stand out was the dancer/choreographer Shari Nycee in “The Whole Enchilada.” Shari danced a very dynamic and eclectic solo while accompanied by three little girls and an older gentleman in sombreros singing “there’s no tortillas only bread’ in a tragic tone while she grappled with a wooden stool.

The evening ended with a six butterflies and a grasshopper in the Papillon Suite by Lynn Lesniak Needle with music by Philip Glass and Stevie Wonder; with gigantic swaths of silk cloth waving about under fantastic lights, it was reminiscent of Loie Fuller.

The technical crew was surely working under adverse conditions, with not enough rehearsal time, but the lighting was too dark in some dances and not executed very smoothly. Lights came up before props were set and stage hands were seen on and off stage when they shouldn’t have been. The theater was uncomfortably hot and the music was painfully loud. The behind the scenes activity is essential to a quality of a performance.

This is a very accessible dance concert that inspires and encourages dance and choreography beyond the age of 40. If you have untapped yearnings to dance but have no outlet this is the place for you. Go see the performance and get involved.

“I’ll have what she’s having…” dance project will be performing again on Saturday March 19th at 2pm and 8pm at the Yvonne Theater at Rider University.

Thanks to Jamuna Desi for this guest review! A professional dancer living in Hamilton NJ, she is the founder and director of The Outlet Dance Project, a choreographic series performed at Grounds For Sculpture for emerging women choreographers. She is also a performer and founding member of Kalamandir Dance Co. a contemporary Indian dance company based in New Jersey. Dasi has performed with Pennsylvania Dance Theatre, Alpha Omega Theatrical Dance Theatre, Acrodance Theatre, Opera Festival of New Jersey, New Jersey Opera Theatre and has danced eight seasons with The Opera Company of Philadelphia.

Thanks to Elizabeth Madden-Zibman for another guest review of this concert.

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