Seattle Treated to Dance from Across the Globe

Written by Mariko Nagashima
Dance abounded across Seattle this past weekend, and the International Dance Festival, held at Cornish’s Raisbeck Hall Theater, brought companies from Mexico and as far afield as Iraq together under one roof. The festival, which continues through next weekend, creates a wider context for locally produced work by bringing in artists from all over the world.

The Iraqi and Dutch company Iraqi Bodies presented Le Temps l’Emportera, a solo by Lotus Eddé-Khouri. Originally a duet, the piece was restaged upon arriving in Seattle, as several of the dancers were unfortunately unable to enter the U.S. Beginning with her back facing the audience, Eddé-Kouri moved with meditative slowness through arm gestures and rises and falls to the floor that gradually approached the audience. Though the protracted tempo of her movement felt tedious at times, it had the curious effect of making shapes seem to appear from nowhere. Her movement was so imperceptible; it often didn’t register to the eye until the pose had evolved into something entirely different. Finally breaking from this measured movement, Eddé-Kouri exploded into frantic arm circles, abruptly facing front with her eyes wide and transfixed. A moth with unremittingly beating wings, she left the audience with this striking final image, made more powerful by its complete contrast with the rest of the piece.
Local company Khambatta Dance presented a “teaser” of a work to be performed in full the second weekend of the International Dance Festival. Clad in plain black shirts, shorts, and kneepads, the four dancers created diagonal planes through space with arcing battements and slicing arms. The dancers, while technically adept, needed more conviction behind their movements, making the piece a bit lackluster as a whole. Though it contained several interesting partnering sequences, it didn’t make a strong enough impression to necessitate a second viewing.
Compan͂ia Ciudad Interior from Queretaro, Mexico, displayed great intensity in the evening’s third piece, titled Homoloidal. Choreographed by Alejandro Chavez, the eight dancers stood scattered across the stage, each repeating their own sinuous movement phrases as if suffused with an electric current. While duos and trios emerged, much of the work involved unconnected individual phrases in which the focused energy of each performer called attention to their alluring contortions and effortless releases. Several soaring lifts where legs stretched at lofty right angles added focal points to an otherwise structurally repetitive work.
In easily the most intriguing piece of the evening, KatsuraKanof Japanpresented the butoh piece Voyagers. Sharoni Stern Siegel and KatsuraKan himself, both bare-chested and covered in chalky white paint, stood in separate pools of light and moved with great deliberation. In perfect and languorous unison they pulled an imaginary string from their mouths, swayed as if basking in a gentle breeze, and brushed their bodies as if ridding themselves of unclenaliness. Here, the slow and deliberate movement never bordered on monotony because its delightfully strange and idiosyncratic nature made the audience hang on what would happen next. KatsuraKan’s performance cemented the importance and rewards of bringing diverse artists to Seattle.
The festival continues with shows by local and international companies throughout the week and next weekend. For more information visit: http://www.phffft.org/sidf.html