War Dance

Sick as hell, but got sick too late to get a sub for my ushering gig. I’m glad, because the performers, the Rubberbanddance Group, were terrific. Mostly Latino, young, incredibly talented, the group choreographs street moves against a big range of music, from Prokofiev’s Dance of the Knights to Spanish love songs to hip hop to La Traviata.

I don’t get modern dance a lot of the time; it often looks studied and overly earthbound. I get that it’s about using gravity vs. the way ballet defies it, but modern can often be so counter-intuitive that it just looks awkward.

The Rubberbands were beautifully graceful. They are about extremely supple spines and effortless strength. In their dances, you see dance as a primitive force, as the perfect way to do battle – simply by outdancing the other side. Their dances were like duels, between men, women, and each other. I couldn’t pick a clear winner but it was obvious that both sides were powerful, harnessing some primal force – barely. If there’s a revival of West Side Story any time soon, Victor Quijada is the guy to choreograph it. Nobody would laugh at these Jets and Sharks dancing each other to the death.

It was hard to find a clip that wasn’t destroyed by a lot of cutting; you really want to just sit and watch these folks move. This one doesn’t really do them justice, but at least it’s a glimpse.

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