For some of us, St. Valentine's Day has become another excuse for greeting card companies, chocolate brands and florists to jack up prices and cash in on this day of "infatuation" and "love". For others, it is a reminder that they are single, maybe again, maybe for the first time in a while, but none-the-less single all the same. And for another group, this day is an obligatory time to overly show your affection for the person you already care about; however, if this expectation is not met (a romantic dinner, long-stem roses, jewelry), one of the two in this pair may end up in the doghouse. I say forget all about that and let's get back to the heart of what this holiday is truly about - real love. And what is real love? Imperfection and happiness and hope and jealousy and lust and disappointment and most of all, gut-wrenching emotion. If you are like most New Yorkers, St. Valentine's Day is an opulent day of cardboard and sugar, and I've found a perfect way to celebrate the post pink partum depression.
LUNA Company, the Italian dance theater group from Ancona, Italy, had its debut performance in New York City on Monday evening at Theater Row's Lion Theater with NYC's Synthesis Dance Project (Tracie Stanfield) in celebration of this week's holiday (show producer, Ryan Daniel Beck). I was only able to catch the last number of SDP's Collection, Recollection piece which was a Carmen-inspired lustful and seductive dance beautifully performed by dancer Heidi Sutherland. Her never-ending backbends and whips of her dress kept the fiery emotion of love lingering for the entire intermission immediately following.
Love Returns (L'amore Torna), with choreography by Simona Ficosecco is everything and nothing that you would expect when seeking out a dance piece made for our beloved day of San Valentino. As I sat there watching the stories unfold before my eyes, I recognized emotions that I had experienced when trying to find love, or deal with love or even nurture it. These emotions might not be the first things you think of when evoking thoughts of love, but they definitely ring true to the heart and to the head: a romantic dinner gone awry, a saddened lover left to drink her sorrows away, a young women so anxious for a mate that she resorts to a gypsy's Tarot card reading for answers on her non-existent love life, and a scorned lover engulfing herself in a piece of clothing left by her abandoner. It's fantastic! And very funny! And above all, true to what the word love really means.
There is no sugar coating to this piece, and with exciting choreography, music, story line, and props, this 45-minute performance keeps you wondering what other love stories you might have suppressed in your psyche that are waiting to be unleashed by these memory-joggers. For all of you revelers of the anti-Valentine's Day, celebrate with LUNA tonight for an evening of amusement, truth and above all, love.
THE BARE FEET™ FIVE: 1. When & Where? LUNA Company and Synthesis Dance Project will be performing Love Returns (L'amore Torna) and Collection, Recollection on Wednesday, February 15th 2012 at 7:30pm at the Dixon Place Theater (161A Chrystie Street, between Rivington & Delancey, New York, NY 10002 - 212.219.0736) 2. Who should I go with? Had a date for Valentine's Day but decided not to waste your money on an expensive evening? Good for you and your sweetheart - now go and see this show! 3. Libations to please: Located just 3 blocks away, Lucky Jack's is the new generation Irish Pub with hand-painted pin-up girls dispersed on the walls and plenty of tasty beers on tap to keep you entertained post-performance (one of my favorite local pubs in the Lower East Side). 4. I want to see more! Theater Dance is the school of thought from Pina Bausch, internationally acclaimed choreographer and dance icon. With Wim Wenders's film PINA nominated for best documentary feature film at this year's Academy Awards, check out why people are flipping over this non-conventional 3-D arts film. Even the trailer will take your breath away! 5. Inspired to dance! LUNA Company is part of La Luna Dance Center (director Cristiano Marcelli) where an annual summer intensive of dance for all ages is held for two weeks in July: Graham technique, Pina Bausch workshops, African dance, break dance, ballet, Bollywood, and classes in almost anything else you can think of are offered. A great escape to a beach town on the Adriatic for two weeks (or as long as you can afford to get away) and open to any level dancer, this program is the ultimate dance vacation! For more information, go to www.lalunadancecamp.com