Tag Archive: miguel perez

Guest choreographers Miguel Perez and Zane Booker joined forces with LVCDT’s Bernard Gaddis for the company’s spring concert on May 6-8 at the West Las Vegas Library Theatre. The program featured four pieces, one from each of the guest artists and two, including the anticipated frog-work “Phib,” from Gaddis.

Perez’s “Emergence” was a twining, full-bodied and expressive piece that seemed to sponge up emotion and release it when called upon. Lovely adage work from the girls and a playful duet lightened the somewhat staid tone and contemporary choreography spiked with classical lines furthered this dichotomy. The glimmer of individuals throughout the piece made the movement simultaneously surreal and relatable. Effective use of music and light lent a feeling of time passing and the result was a sobering but optimistic experience for the audience.

Gaddis’ “Sacrifus,” a study in choice and consequence, began the second act with a compelling male duet and a kind of visual percussion that the company does well. Many of the interactions between the dancers built to the charged third movement of the piece, which culminated in a galvanic stand-off between the men and women. Throughout the number ran an undercurrent of complex relationships, all blanketed by a burning energy and ferocious partnering. Looking for the human moments in the piece was one of the pleasures.

Two pieces capitalized on a healthy measure of novelty. “Portraits,” by Booker, was part period-piece to sax and brass and part edgy, contemporary concert dance. Recitations of literature introduced each character in the small cast and gave the audience an idea of what they were in for; robust movement followed shortly and gave these artistic greats some context. (Such figures as Josephine Baker, James Baldwin, Gloria Steinem and Byron Hurt were represented.)

The choreography itself was busy and detailed, a fact the dancers took mostly in stride. This kind of number meshes well with the artistic strength of the dancers and the confidence thatĀ emanatedĀ from each was gratifying to see.

“Phib” hopped into the final slot of the show as a fantastic summation and a number that holds great promise for outreach programs. Giggles from the audience began right away, but it was clear that the dancers took this frog business very seriously. A watery, reedy feel set the stage for splayed-legged rolls and ballet-mistress-approved grand plies. The choreography itself was interesting in that the character movement rang distantly of funk in the precisely timed isolations and a sweet duet midway through the piece lent some emotional depth. Kudos also go to Gaddis for resisting the temptation of too much silliness, because the piece certainly benefited from it.

LVCDT has a distinct genre that they dance well and this concert showcased this effectively. There is also something about seeing a posse of frogs applauding their artistic director that is not to be missed.

Neither is the fall concert series. LVCDT will be performing “Vespers” by choreography icon Ulysses Dove on November 4-6. Keep an eye on their website here for more information.


"Melodic Hallucinations" by Stephan Reynolds

UNLV’s dance department produced “A Moveable Feast” on March 25 and 26 at the Judy Bayley Theatre and, with the help of guest choreographers, further reiterated the school’s strengths in contemporary dance. Modern was highlighted to a lesser extent and ballet, which was also part of the program, could have been left out. Amidst everything else, it probably would not have been missed.

The proliferation of new choreography from the likes of Stephan Reynolds, Lawrence Jackson and Lynn Neuman brought a freshness to the show and gave the dancers a chance to show off in a style that is a collective aptitude. A character-style piece midway through served as an emotional reprieve and added variety. Neon tape and experimental concepts made a modest appearance as well.

An interesting thing happened, though. For much of the concert, the choices of the choreographers and the strengths of the dancers coincided perfectly. This intersection created an aura of confidence for the group and, lo and behold, true performance and presence emerged. This group is generally proficient in most of the works being showcased, but seeing the dancers perform something that looks and feels good to them was a treat.

Reynolds grabbed the audience’s attention with “Melodic Hallucinations,” a gritty, industrial number that was pleasantly reminiscent of “The Matrix” (if, of course, Neo could whip out some funky dance moves.) Reynolds made it clear that he is no stranger to producing pieces like this one; the staging, imaginative costuming and integrated set were well-received. A stripped stage and striking lighting were perfect complements.

"Baeke's Land" by Lynn Neuman

Two other pieces followed a similar vein. “Exurgency,” by Jackson, was steeped in suspense and urgency. The spacing was precise and visual and the modern influence was subtle and tastefully implemented. Maurice Watson’s “A Search for Serenity” was a quirky, sexy, swinging jazz number in six. Syncopation and soul ran through the music, which was spiked with bright brass tones that were wisely utilized by the choreographer. Sections of unison and clump-style spacing kept the number grounded.

“Baeke’s Land,” by Neuman, was a foray into the unexpected. The concept of the piece centered on the invention of plastic and its effect on the human body and, ironically, was quite an experience for the mind as well. Playful choreograph was paired with a serious subject and it made for a nice juxtaposition.

A disappointment in the show was “Prelude, Fugue, Postlude,” by Dolly Kelepecz and Andrea Dusel-Foil. The biggest problem was discordance: the music was nice, the fluid staging was engaging and the choreography was nontraditional and interestingly composed. However, the energy of the dancers was far, far below what is necessary to make a piece like this work. UNLV is not American Ballet Theatre, and that’s perfectly ok. Ballet in general, though, demands an amount of caring and presence that was simply not seen. The piece seemed somehow obligatory, like a necessary experience borne with a grimace.

"Prelude, Fugue, Postlude" by Dolly Kelepecz and Andrea Dusel-Foil

This disillusionment was redeemed with “Assembled,” a piece in the middle of the show that was choreographed by Miguel Perez, Alain Lavalle and Vanessa Reyes. Relationships between vibrant characters were acted out amongst a long table and chairs and individual personalities poked through at every available moment. Sections of sassy, girls-only jamming, heart-felt longing for a boy and back-and-forth group interactions were humanizing. Like most of the rest of the show, it was as entertaining as anything on MTV.

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