Dimensions Dance Theater's triumphant 40th anniversary celebration
I wish the lovely, sexy, and sassy couple dances — inherited from a colonial past though they were — could have been extended before leading into a skirt-swirling, intoxicating carnival. The section ended with a celebration of the end of colonialism with a lilting King (Sharlman) and Queen (Laura Elaine Ellis), and Tigner as an Elder who deposited a totemic doll on the altar.
The after-intermission Vulkana squarely threw the spotlight on the drum, without which African dance — whether in the Congo or in the Diaspora — would not exist. To have these different traditions come together proved both exhilarating and a little messy. Yet it was one of the evening's highlights to have Kiazi Malonga in a friendly competition with tiny Congolese firecracker Hervé Makaya and his cohort Teber Milandou. They set not only the makuta drums but also costume parts flying.
Vukana also paid tribute to these brave Dimensions performers who, whether chanting in a sitting circle or swiveling their hips so that the energy rose up through the torso and sailed through the arms, looked at home. Whatever the specifics of the wide-ranging demands made on them, Dimensions looked as if born into them. *
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