by Debra Danese for The Dance Journal
KYL/D’s popular Inhale Performance Series marked its 44th juncture with a bold transition in response to pandemic restrictions – Inhale on Camera. The decision to pivot the October 24, 2020 event to film was made in June. This also marked changes to both the application process and selection criteria. The application fee was discounted to offer accessibility to a wider range of artists and to foster greater equity in the dance community.
When choosing which dances to showcase, Evalina “Wally” Carbonell, KYL/D company member and Inhale Series curator, said that video quality was equally important as the artistic values brought forth by the performers and choreographers. The goal was to present selections that were artistically complimentary, diverse, and high-quality in production while keeping in mind the flow from one piece to the next. Carbonell succeeded with a selection of eight films included in the series from a pool of over 30 applicants.
The 45-minute program was screened throughout the day to allow for social distancing at KYL/D’s dance center. A mix of genres from ballet to post-modern offered a diverse sampling of eclectic viewpoints. All but one of the pieces were duets, including a pas de deux performed with elegant clarity by Xiaoxiao Cao and Cristian Laverde Koenig. The concepts were wide ranging with several of them standing out for their daring creativity.
One such piece was Takako Vs Nine Lives, performed by Laura Katz Rizzo and Sun Mi Cho. The dance parody was a balletic battle within the confines of a wrestling ring. The sparring was athletic and demonstrated the artists strength and agility. The action-filled choreography was inspired by Japanese Manga and Greek mythology. Costumes by Closet Champion and music by Tim Korn gave the piece a WWE feel with a recorded crowd of spectators fueling the energy of the performance.
Noteworthy and timely was De-Eschatology, described as the “physical manifestation of the claustrophobic conditions created by the COVID-19 crisis and the yearning to break free from them.” The piece brought attention to the heightened sense of touch resulting from the lack of physical contact experienced in quarantine. The work, performed and choreographed by Charly & Eriel Santagado, was a master class in musicality. The sisters displayed an imaginative and vast movement vocabulary while performing almost entirely on chairs and covered in plastic wrap. The plastic was ripped off in sections as the dance progressed. The fragments were later incorporated into the choreography, keeping the concept intact throughout.
Particularly impactful was Santo: A dance narrative on domestic violence by Art in MotionLatin Dancers. The film flashed between re-enactments of violent altercations to dance sequences that were equally jarring in their physicality. The dancing was powerful and aggressive and illustrated the gripping reality of individuals caught in abusive relationships. Director, Stephanie Ramones, drew from personal experiences to show support for victims of domestic abuse. Ramones did a remarkable job using dance as a platform to convey a message and draw awareness to an often taboo issue.
Inhale on Camera proved to be a high-caliber alternative to a live performance.
***Photo courtesy of Laura Katz Rizzo