it fly: Brian Brooks Moving Company.
Mae G. Banner
Brooks Moving Company
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.
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