Collage Pink Sizzles and Detonates

Written by Nalisha Rangel

Collage Pink
Photo by Josehp Lambert.
The Annex Theater was packed on Sunday evening, May 22, for a one-night-only treat served Soto Style. Bright pink programs in hand, the audience found a stage saturated in pink lights as they took their seats in the intimate venue. Maya Soto happened to be celebrating her birthday this night so the room was decorated in 
pink balloons and the audience was invited for cake following the performance.


The show opened with Lullaby, a swoony piece that began with two dancers posed asleep on stage. Amy Johnson awoke with a dreamy yet powerful solo where she displayed both multiple turns ending in jumps and articulated poses with sharp hand movements all while her balance technique was outstandingly exposed. She moved like a meditative martial artist sparing kata in her ruffled, white tunic pajama to the smooth beat of Ahn Trio’s Lullaby for My Favorite Insomniac (Tao of Sound Remix).

Once Johnson left the stage the second sleeping body began to move. Maya Soto tossed and torqued in the silk comforter on the floor in The Dream/Interlude. She transformed a still, sleepy body with restricted, low movement – her body contorted and she danced on her knees in a wild, powerful display as if caught in a nightmare. Hiding her face with hair most of the time she arrived at her feet and she transported the audience as Looking in Windowsby Kraddy played with some obscure, eclectic percussion.

As Soto patterned her movement and clicking, metal sounds introduced a circus-like melody, three dancers draped in pink, TuTu Tough Girls, entered single-file sporting pink tutus and hearted camisoles. Armed with boxing gloves and pink beanies the three began a dancing tug-of-war, with Soto caught in their clutches, and the four displayed funk-like pops with juxtaposed ballet-like accents, which prompted laughter from the audience. They took on new life as they fused fluid dance moves with b-girl flare to the beats of Track 8 by Krump Fitness.

As two Mad Munchies commanded the stage with hooded faces and raccoon-like make up, their toprock power and animalistic prowess set them apart from the other pinkieson stage. Grabbing arms to munch on when they could, Anne Motl and Gabby Bruya crept in unison and struck strong positions with a street-dance attitude. They battled the music, Beat Box 8 Bubbler Beats by Funk’s Incorporated, and sliced the air with articulate limb and head movements, all the while peeking from their dark hoods.


The first half came to an end, a little too soon by surveying the audience, with Ghost Bridein which Soto and a TuTu Tough Girl, Karen Grady-Brown, cocooned in pink tulle. As they are wrapped up, Soto, center stage, unveils her own multi-layered tool. It’s a haunting juxtaposition set to the tunes of Clutter by Ronald Jenkees. Ghost Bride provided a down-shift in energy to conclude a high-powered first half, which left the audience excited for more.


Soto Style delivered an explosive second half with Little Pink Dress, The Panty Parade, and Mirror Mirror. The choreography fused ballroom, break dance power, and what appeared to be a pinch of martial art movement articulated with technique and brilliant balancing and turns from all seven dancers. Their fluid transfer of positions kept the audiences eyes moving across the stage. The slinky costumes and bright lights created a saucy mix of skin and muscle as all the dancers rocked the stage with impressive, feminine strength. With ambient tunes provided by A. R. Rahman, Living Legends, and others, the audience was treated to a dominating last act. 


Word: The Re-Up hit the roof with an all-out battle. Dressed in white hoodies with strips of pink fabric slash marks and jeans, these power-house dancers shook the Annex Theater with tight rhythms and physical arrangements, hitting every beat on cue. The action was so palpable the audience whooped and hollered throughout. The unison movements soon broke out to individual routines and suddenly there was a wonderfully choreographed girl-fight on stage. It was hard to know who to root for when one was a fan of each.


Soto Style knows how to deliver empowerment through dance to the audience and this night was no exception. It may have been Soto’s birthday, but she handed the audience the best gift. A second serving of this pink treat would be happily received.