ETD MEXICO TOUR (CHOCHOLA & MERIDA)
El Universal, 2016
New York Dance in Maya
Few times de events occur like the one recently in Chocholá, Yucatan, where the Mayan language is still spoken and customs are far from becoming those we’ve adopted from Mexico’s western cities.
In that humid region, inhabited by men and women with “torn” eyes and earth colored skin, the Eryc Taylor Dance Company arrived to celebrate 10 years of creative work with the world premiere of five choreographies, the same number of solos done by each of its dancers.
Before their presentation, Mexican dancer and choreographer Cristobal Ocaña (director of Umbral Danza Contemporánea and of the International Festival of Avant Garde Dance, which takes place every year in Yucatán) asked the New York company to work with local youngsters in a “dance awareness workshop”.
The result was peculiar if not surreal: Eryc Taylor and his dancers: AJ Guevara, Graham Cole, Chris Bell, Nicole Baker and Timothy Patterson could not speak using words. Instead they used the universal language: that of the body.
Few times can we see a first-level dance company ready to work in conditions that Terpsichore professionals wouldn’t consider “optimal”, to adapt to the environment and to let themselves feel the sensibilities of people who live in the center of an alien and distant culture, in this case the Maya.
The New York artists not only enjoyed but enriched the experience, they established emotional bonds with the Mayan youth and saw their form of movement and worldview changed.
The result of this meeting will be seen at the opening of the 17th International Festival of Avant Garde Dance, in Chocholá, Yucatan, on an open-air stage in front of the Municipal Palace.
The performance took place alongside the procession of our Patron Saint, the noise of the fair and the colorful fireworks. The Eryc Taylor Dance Company flaunted professionalism and “delivery”, with the conviction that, through dance, one can nail down a sense of community, in spite of cultural differences.
The dancers, of virtuous technique and strong personalities, presented “Vive la noche, Baila en el bosque” by Taylor in collaboration with the dancers, original music by Gerald Busby (who made music for the Paul Taylor Dance Company as well as the film 3 Women (1977) y Robert Altman), costumes by Milan DelVecchio and lighting by Chris Annas-Lee; “Gran duo” by Taylor, Timothy Patterson, Graham Cole and Nicole Baker, music by Billie Holiday, Nina Simone and Sam Smith; “Canta para cello”, an idea by Taylor and collective creation of the company, with music composed by Daniel Tobias and costumes by Scooter LaForge (outstanding visual artist who, besides standing out in contemporary painting, dabbles in fashion, having made designs for singers like Rihanna, Beyoncé and Miley Cyrus); “Hacia la luz” by Taylor and company. music by Hannah Schneider and costumes by Dav Burrington; and finally, “Moda” a piece realized by the group of young people from the Chocholá Municipal Ballet, Casa Crisal Refuge (who rehabilitates children and adolescents who have suffered sexual abuse), Danzare Academy, Yairiane Academy, the Oxkutzcab World of Ballet Academy and dancers from the IMA School of Portugal.