THANK YOU to everyone who made ” The Grass is Always Greener…” such a success. Congratulations to everyone who performed,
participated and came to see the shows. Many thanks to those of you who helped spread the word about this thought provoking and historically conscious dance-theater piece.
Your belief & trust keeps us going with more strength & commitment!
Check out a REVIEW about our last show at Baryshnikov Arts Center by Eye on Dance & the Arts! http://bit.ly/p9YqZN
October 4, 2011
Anabella Lenzu is celebrating 5 years of her company (and 20 years of teaching) with performances of her DanceDrama “The Grass is Always Greener…” at the Barishnikov Arts Center. The challenges of telling a personal story, such as her immigration and deportation, have provided the dancers an opportunity to inhabit a life other than their own. The collaboration of poetry,film, music, and dramatic facial expression and gestures made for a theatrical experience and gave the audience a space to think about these issues.
The piece is at once personal and universal as Ms. Lenzu begins in a single spotlight, with only 2 chairs and her expressive body and face. Four dancers join her, two in black outfits with white lace (sisters, perhaps), and the other more gypsy like, with long tiered peasant skirts. Debra Zalkind and Lauren Ohmer stood out for their clearly defined presence, subtlety, weight and candor whether moving or reciting. Throughout the journey we hear poetry by the Pulitzer Prize winning Gabriela Mistral, which brings the immigrant story into relief. The dancers recite the poetry with confidence and persuasion, while wrapping up a red ball of yarn, carrying suitcases, beating washboards.
Photographic images by Todd Carroll of rolling waves, the building of the Statue of Liberty, laundry hanging on the line combine with the evocative music of Piazolla, Gardel, Verdi and others, and we can hear the sound of a boat creaking as the dancers tell different stories of the immigrant’s plight. Ms. Lenzu used traditional folk dances, the Tamuriatta and the Pizzica, and the dancers hold strings of white handkerchiefs to create a star pattern, combining the past and the present. We can sense the dancers fear, frustration, joy of companionship, as well as their desperation to be understood….to find a new “home”…to belong.
With sensitive lighting, by Stephen Petrilli, adding to the ambiance we can view gentle triplets and embracing port de bras, as the dances unfold. There is a particularly moving solo for Ms. Zalkind, full of waltzing and fan kicks in which she seems to be grabbing onto life and all it’s experiences. In the end, we are left feeling sadness….for the immigration experience and the role America plays.
EYE ON THE ARTS,NY — Deborah Wingert