Provocative performances by Miami artists open Miami Light’s Here & Now festival
BY JORDAN LEVIN
The austere dance solo, puppet-propelled opera, silent-film-informed melodrama and cartoonishly gothic take on cancer that opened Miami Light Project’s annual Here & Now festival make it seem even more eclectic than usual.
Ivonne Batanero’s dance piece Project: Invasion was in many ways the most engaging of the evening, tackling the fraught subject of cancer with an unnerving and compelling combination of black humor and striking imagery that’s reminiscent of her piece on nightmares at last year’s festival.
Wearing garish, mask-like makeup and crouching inside baggy T-shirts the sickly green color of hospital smocks, dancers Liza Carmona, Juliana Trivino, Brigette Cormier, Kerine Jean-Pierre and Sasha Caicedo bounce like madly animated cancer cells, then disappear through slits in a backdrop of white sheets, as if slinking back into the body.
Cormier does a solo in which one hand seems like a separate wiggling, attacking organism that makes her writhe and shake. The soundtrack includes a thudding heartbeat and a growling, nihilistic Tom Waits song. A pure dance sequence isn’t as strong as the images in the rest of Invasion, but the piece further marks Batanero’s style.
Impressions of Miami Light Project’s Here & Now 2013
Published on February 11, 2013 by Neil de la Flor in Dance, Miami, Theater
Watching a marathon session of Star Trek Voyager before Here & Now: not a good idea. When Ivonne Batanero’s “Project: Invasion” unfurled, I couldn’t escape making references to the Borg, a powerful and violent alien collective that assimilates other space-faring species using nano-probes. In a way, this is what Batanero’s “Project: Invasion” was about — the takeover of the body by cancer cells. However, the use of kitschy and oddly timed humor distracted me from the content of the narrative. It relegated the content of the performance to the background as the dancers ricocheted across the stage like deranged weeble wobbles. The Jack and the Beanstalk-esque inspired costumes posed a problem as well. These two elements, humor and costume, overshadowed a gorgeous choreography that poked creepy fun at cancer rather than using humor as a tool to take us inside of a cancer cell.