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Let it fly: Brian Brooks Moving Company.

A Confetti Carnival
By Mae G. Banner

Brian Brooks Moving Company

The Egg, Nov. 11

Let’s hear it for the Bolero one more time. Ravel’s music continues to fascinate choreographers, including Brian Brooks, who made it the culminating piece of his multi-colored Piñata (2005) Nov. 11 at the Egg.

A week earlier, Pascal Rioult’s company danced a jagged art deco pattern to Ravel’s relentless music. Brooks carried the minimalism even further. Five dancers—two women and three men—all in floor-length black flamenco gowns, stood in a row rooted to the ground. Only their hands moved, swooping, wheeling, diving like a flock of migrating birds.

This was equal parts foolishness and formality, Bolero as farce. Yet, there was a sense of inevitability as the succession of cupped hands, soft fists and winged fingers proceeded to a final flourish.

The black-clad Bolero was the top layer of a pousse-caffe of colorful confetti that gave Piñata its name. The 75-minute dance unfolded like an action painting or a Tibetan mandala on a white plastic floorcloth that covered the Swyer Theater’s tiny (18 ft. by 18 ft.) stage. Starting with white, the dancers flung handfuls of paper bits in one color after another as they moved through Brooks’s simple, controlled patterns. Because their paths were strictly imposed, their snowfalls of confetti left clear designs on the floor: a giant coral X, a blue wave, a green arc, and more, until the dancers were slip-sliding in a rainbow.

Brooks, who has danced in the companies of Sean Curran and Elizabeth Streb, carried through his multicolored concept in marvelously foolish costumes designed by Roxana Ramseur. The first dancer, Jo-Anne Lee, appeared in white, including knee socks and a baby cap. Another dancer blindfolded Lee, gave her a big stick, and she broke the donkey-shaped piñata to release a snowfall of white confetti.

More dancers dolled up in outsize ruffles and bows, like kids at a birthday party, joined in to do a sequence of slow moves that evolved from skootching on their butts to flopping on their bellies and doing little spasms that became bounces and, finally, springy jumps. Brooks did a simple-looking but highly skilled solo in which he rolled, yoga-like, from belly to back to smooth flips propelled by one shoulder, all to the soulful mornas of Cesaria Evora.

Each new color introduced a new movement sequence and new flourishes in the costumes. Dancers in the red sequence wore caps with brushy plumes like Roman soldiers (or the kid with the punkiest Mohawk). Great drifts of confetti came from the ceiling, from the dancers’ hidden pockets, and from invisible hands stationed in the wings.

The sweep of movement grew from somersault jumps to aerobic prances in profile until the black-clad Bolero put the final period on the party. A dance for the kid in all of us, Piñata made a clear statement: It’s OK to have fun.


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