Thanks to Elizabeth Madden-Zibman for this guest review of “I’ll Have What She’s Having.” Also see the March 19 post by Jamuna Dasi, an overnight review of this concert.
While critiquing a professional dance project, “I’ll Have What She’s Having,” performed recently at Rider University’s Yvonne Theater, I felt it would be best to toss out the traditional rules of dance critique. For me, a dance enthusiast who can only dream of the pas de chat and plie, my job is to be inspired and entertained, which this choreographers’ showcase succeeded in doing. And, while I am not a stranger to the magical mixes of dancer and choreographer, Marie Alonzo, this particular presentation of 12 vastly different and unique pieces outdid all the others.
The opener, “Seven Seasons” choreographed and performed by Alonzo, displayed
a series of muscular body challenges. This concoction of still-life gymnastics and pole dancing on steroids was played out in an eerie bath of stage lighting reminiscent of grainy black and white photographs, which augmented Alonzo’s effort to exercise an innate need to put enormous demands on her own body. Her sense of poise and rigorous control created ardent tension for anyone envisioning themselves holding similarly difficult poses.
“Valse Fantasie” and Olivia Galgano delivered extreme costume prettiness, outfitting the dancers in magenta and tie-dye with big, bold contemporary brooches that no properly attired granny ever imagined. The glittery head scarves, too, had a certain cachet, which probably stirred the girlie-girl nature of every woman in the audience. All-in-all,with a choice of different music and a spectacular set design, these dancers and this piece could have augmented “Swan Lake.”
“Untitled Solo for One” was interesting because it succeeded where dance usually
doesn’t–in the singing voice of the dancer, Loretta D. Fois, who did not dance, but acted instead.
“Cuadro” was brilliant with Lisa Botalico impersonating a male flamenco dancer.
While she displayed full-blown machismo in a heated pounding of her heels, something
like crushing marbles, she also managed to flirt with the audience while teasing her
supporting dancers, Jan Bhaskar and Alejandra Robles, both of whom embraced their
subordinate female roles and imbued the stage with an authentic café-cantantes aura.
“Truth,” with choreographer and performer, Linda E. Mannheim in a telling and
inimitably scarlet dress, paired a repertoire of yoga positions and somnambulist
movement with haunting music. It seemed that the life-blood of one of the seven deadly sins spilled across the stage.
“The Whole Enchilada” was Shari Nyce’s baby or shall I say babies as her back-up
singers looked like carbon copies of Nyce herself without her practiced, toned, taut and magnificently enviable physic.
“Crispy Water and Sugary Air”, my favorite, was a zany synthesis of August Rodin’s suffering stillness (as in The Thinker), with the peppy humor of Charlie Chaplin and the adorable repetition of wind-up toys. This is Marie Alonzo’s whimsy and she danced it delightfully with Eri Tanaka Millrod, Debra Welinder Keller, and Loretta DiBianca Fois.
“Untitled White” with six pairs of feet in cherry red boots kicking from beneath a
billowing sheet, exemplifies choreographer Christine Colosimo’s capacity for delivering the unexpected. Dancers Dina Christie, Samar Hamati, Debra Welinder Keller, Fara Lindsay, and Linda Mannheim convey this high-energy narrative as it transitions from a toilette-tissue fantasy to a soft-porn fashion show to a mannequin’s version of the can-can dance.
“Lamma Bada’s,” by choreographer and dancer Kim Leary, makes a woman feel proud of
herself. This piece delivers beauty, self-esteem, and simple creativity in a musically rich environment where a grand red scarf becomes a watery stream of blazing fire.
“One’s Upon Times.” This title challenged my strict grammarian sense, but as I allowed old rules to relax, the title and theme coalesced with the dancers — Abdiel Jacobsen and Henri Velandia — brilliantly opposing the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), via one sweaty, impassioned and tender-loving duet, as choreographed by Marie Alonzo. Like it? I do!
In Fara Lindsay’s “Reflections 1,” the choreographer, Dina Christie, and Christine Colosimo are so convincingly light-hearteded, earnest and uniquely individual, swaying and sashaying to “Still a Weirdo,” it is frustrating not to jump up and join them.
“Papillon Suite” is magical, and the dancers are lucky ladies, dressing up like brilliant butterflies and becoming one with their inner Monarch. Austin Jarred, Annie Hickman, Janette Dishuk, Annie Hickman, Ayla Hitron, Courney Karam, Jessica LaVorgna
and Lynn Needle mimicked admirably the delicate and graceful nature of the real-life
Now that I tossed out most of the professional critiquing rules, I’ll also skip the wordy conclusion. THE END!
Elizabeth Madden-Zibman has an MFA in creative writing from Fairleigh Dickinson University and a bachelor’s degree in English/Creative Writing from San Francisco State University. Her poetry is published in the Painted Bride Quarterly, Transfer 37, The Kennesaw Review, Open Mouth Poetry Anthology, and her short stories and novel chapters are published in the U.S. 1 Newspaper Summer Fiction Issue, Kelsey Review, http://www.alongstoryshort.net, and
http://www.shakinglikeamountain.com. Formerly, she was an advertising and
business-to-business copywriter. Currently, she teaches Essay Writing and
Research Writing at Rutgers University. Her novels, Nine Lives, and Crystal
Infusion are searching for a publisher.