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Rubberband: “Ever So Slightly”

A Canadian dance troupe that knows how to communicate a range of emotions using a movement palette that is vivid and up-to-date.

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Amara Barner, Jean Bui, Daniela Jezerinac, Sydney McManus, Dana Pajarillaga, Brontë Poiré-Prest, Jerimy Rivera, Zack Tang and Ryan Taylor with musician William Lamoureux in Rubberband’s production of Victor Quijada’s “Ever So Slightly” (Photo credit: Marie Nöele Pilon)

Joel Benjamin

Joel Benjamin, Critic

Quite simply, Rubberband, the Montreal-based dance troupe’s season at The Joyce Theater was a spectacular success.  Directed by Victor Quijada, Rubberband performed his Ever So Slightly, a 75-minute investigation of contemporary angst staged to original music by Jasper Gahunia and William Lamoureux, played live.

Ever So Slightly came at the audience in waves, starting with calm, gentle waves and ending in a tsunami of roughness and near anarchy.

Using street dance—hip-hop, capoeira and martial arts movements with modern dance tossed into the mix—Quijada constructed a work that began innocently with the ten dancers, dressed in Cloé Alain-Gendreau’s bland overalls, walking about, occasionally twisting, undulating, forming and reforming lines, breaking off into solos and duets and recoalescing.

Sydney McManus, Dana Pajarillaga, Brontë Poiré-Prest, Jerimy Rivera and Paco Ziel  with musicians Jasper Gahunia and William Lamoureux in Rubberband’s production of Victor Quijada’s “Ever So Slightly” (Photo credit: Marie-Nöele Pilon)

Suddenly, they began a series of jerky movements mixed with kicks and falls.  Legs whiplashed about; arms hit jerky, angular positions.  So far, despite forming sculptural groupings, the performers appeared to be moving in their own, individual spaces, their own consciousness, culminating in the dancers staggering around.

Eventually they all stripped off their overalls to reveal tight, flattering underwear revealing the exceptional physical specimens they all were.  There was no difference between the dance chores given either sex:  men partnered women and vice-versa plus same-sex lifts, explicit entanglements and roughhousing.

Soon the stage looked like a rumble full of virtuoso leaps, falls, high-speed runs approaches and aggressive confrontations.

Amara Barner, Jean Bui, Sydney McManus, Dana Pajarillaga, Brontë Poiré-Prest  and Jerimy Rivera in Rubberband’s production of Victor Quijada’s “Ever So Slightly” (Photo credit: Marie-Nöele Pilon)

Finally, a sudden calmness prevailed.  The warring parties, now subdued, wandered about in brighter light.

The ten dancers found details and subtleties in movements that might have become repetitive.  Each stood out and here are their names:  Amara Barner, Jean Bui, Daniela Jezerinac, Sydney McManus, Brontë Poiré-Prest, Jerimy Rivera, Zack Tang, Ryan Taylor, Lavinia Vago and Paco Ziel.

The music, performed by the composers on a high platform overlooking the action, ranged from frenetic scratching to old-fashioned period melodies to violin melodies to odd sound effects, all supporting the action as did the incredibly vivid lighting designs by Yan Lee Chan who combined blandness and color with expertise, several times bathing the stage in single colors, giving a surreal tone to the choreography.

Rubberband (September 17-22, 2019)

The Joyce Theater, 175 Eighth Avenue, in Manhattan

For tickets, call 212-242-0800 or visit http://www.Joyce.org

Running time:  75 minutes without an intermission

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Joel Benjamin
About Joel Benjamin (369 Articles)
JOEL BENJAMIN was a child performer on Broadway and danced with leading modern dance and ballet companies. Joel has been attending theater, ballet and opera performances ever since childhood, becoming quite opinionated over the years. He was the founder and artistic director of the American Chamber Ballet and subsequently was massage therapist to the stars before becoming a reviewer and memoirist. He is a member of the Outer Critics Circle.

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