Friday, July 22, 2016

Steele in the Steel city....

Texture Contemporary Ballet presented its usual powerful mix of classic ballet and modern movment.  Executive director Alan Obuzor selects great modern choreograhers and choreography (including his own) and often unfamiliar music.  This program, ititle "Interfusion," included Cello Fury, which bills itself as Pittsburgh Cello Rock band.  It includes three cellos and a  drummer.  They were situated in a niche above the dance stage; the cellos were amplified.  They made some impressive music, but the composer/arranger for each was not in the program.  The drummer was frequently too loud- drowning out the more subtle celli.  This could have been an amplification issue, but it made for some odd balances.

The Texture is highly talented, with high energy.  On occassion, there were so many dances that they seemed to swamp the rather smallish stage of the New Hazlett Theater. The first piece, "Symphony of Shadows," was high energy and the dancers were well rehearsed.  Becuase the auditorium seats are so close to the dancers, it was easy to see their facial expressions, and they were not always the best.  Some had perpetuals smailes seemingly pasted on their faces, regardless of the  content of the music or the choreography.  Some had perpetual knitted brows.  Even Mr. Obuzor had an arched-eyebrow look that hovered between expecation and anxiety, and this was true for him for the entire program.  This is a small point, in the midst of choregrapher that requires great extentions, leaps, and turns, but in a small space it is distracting.  One dancer who managed to have a more natural expression was a 17-year old from Peters Township High School- Ms. Isabella Mascio.  AMC suspects she can grow into being a really really strong dancer. 

There was a duet titled "Unbroken," featuring the music of Wim Mertens (a favorite of AMC), chorograhy by Mr. Obuzer.  His partner is this piece was Diana Yohe.  It was a beautiful and lyrical love story in music.  Ms. Yohe was spectcular in her reactions and well as technique.  Mr. Obuzer is also strong, but at times, when he was to be looking at his parnter he seemed to be gazing beyound her to the wings.  Its not a good thng when a lover looks through or beyond their partner.

Nezxt follwed a solo piece titled "Japura," choreographed by Mr. Obuzor, with music by Philip Glass.  The soloist was Henry Steele.  Based on this piece, as well and the entire program, Mr. Steele is an emerging star.  He has a gymnastic background that gives him strength and poise.  He has very long arms that accentuate his line, making him quite graceful.  If he is to arch his back, the arch envelops his whole boy; if he is to bend at the hips, his legs ream rooted while his bodying smoothly stretches; if he is to have an open hand, all of the fingures are perfectyl placed, all done seemingly without effort.  His body makes every motion full and long.  He is great to watch.  Mr. Steele is a senior at point Park University and AMC expects him to have a great career.  By the way, he was also able to do convincing lifts with partners taller than himself, where he did not have the advanatge of height for leverage. 

Another work was "Regresson al Realidad" with music by Piazzolla and choreography by Obuzor. this was a frenetic and sensual piece.  It seemed most taxing for the dancers.  There was almost a failed lift by one the male dancers, but he manged to save it with a good recovery.

All in all, Texture is a joy to see and hear.  The choroegraphic is energetic and the dancers are quite accomplished.  Congratulations to Mr. Obuzor of shepharding this group.  The perfromance was well-attended, which was good, given there was a baseball game not far away.  A Texture program is always worth seeing.   

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