Review: Ariel Dance Theatre’s ‘Heart’
“Heart,” a collaboration between Andrea Ariel Dance Theatre and other local artists — including modern dance choreographers Heloise Gold, Sharon Marroquín and Steve Ochoa, and percussionist Nick Hennies — presented a range of scenarios depicting everything from joy to pain, contemplation to death in the Long Center’s Rollins Studio Theatre.
The opening piece, “Heart Fire,” was an adaptation of the 1896 solo “Fire Dance” by Loïe Fuller. This adapted version, set to music by local composer Graham Reynolds, featured dancer Jessica Lindberg in a dress of billowing white silk that was bathed in a rotation of colors by the lighting design. Lindberg held the skirt overhead, her twirling movements reminiscent of a Mexican folkórico dancer, bringing the silk skillfully to life. She emanated bliss.
Sharon Marroquín’s “Chambers” had a contemplative air. A young boy (Dalí Gaytán) — alone — placed four sea conches in various arrangements center stage before he was satisfied with his construct. What ensued was a series of solos by Nicole Lozo, Angie Obermeyer, Marroquín and Lisa del Rosario, each woman confined to her own chamber of a rectangle of light.
The music, a Reynolds composition of piano, cello and violin, complemented the dancers’ gestural movements. Arm placements gave way to ripples through the spine, and balanced positions led to full body action. Marroquín considered heaviness in her hands when she used one hand to lift the other by the wrist, then let it drop, her gaze following the motion. “Chambers” was followed by Steve Ochoa’s “Waning Bloom,” in which dancer Danny Herman met his end while gasping for breath and clutching his heart.
In “Resonance,” a collaboration between Heloise Gold and Nick Hennies, Hennies manned a xylophone while Gold mimicked the resonating noise, both vocally and via body language. Swinging arms and legs corresponded to the dings of the xylophone, and full-body vibrations recalled the resonant quality of the instrument. In a moment that sparked audience laughter, Hennies laid on his back and threw his mallets to the air.
Andrea Ariel’s piece “One Heart” featured the trio of Alyson Dolan, Amy Myers and Christine Wong, who breathed in and out of a knot shape, mimicking the rhythm of a beating heart. Because they were dressed in flesh-colored garments, it was at times difficult to tell where one body ended and another began; a primal feeling pervaded the scene, aided by the distilled music of Austin-based ensemble Line Upon Line Percussion.
The collaborative nature of “Heart” highlighted the metaphorical nature of the human heart: Multiple feelings, one organ.