Travesia, the evening-length work that begins this Venezuelan company's engagement, opens the door on a surreal world. A platoon of men and women in luridly colored old-fashioned garb--long-tailed coats for the men, bustiers and full skirts for the women--sails onstage in a skeletal ship. Disembarking, they totter like drunken sailors or seasick landlubbers, then sway in unison. The movement throughout has a wild, careless energy, the dancers throwing themselves off balance, upending themselves, not bothering to recover their equilibrium. Eventually the pirates' dancing in unison breaks up into solos, duets, quartets, but the drunken sense of violence persists. In a humorous/horrifying tango, a man not only grabs a woman by the back of the neck--he throws her to the floor. Locking his leg around her, he kicks her in the butt. A bare-breasted woman crawls out of a coffin, scattering flowers, and tries vainly to stand up, swaying and shaking like a newborn calf. Said to represent a kind of dream journey, Travesia is no mild, easygoing reverie--it's the sort of nightmare so terrifying and seductive you spend the rest of the day trying to remember it, and hoping you won't. Choreographed by Danzahoy's assistant artistic director Luz Urdaneta, it will be shown Thursday, March 21, at 7 and next Friday, March 22, at 8 at DePaul University's Merle Reskin Theatre, 60 E. Balbo. (Thursday night's performance will be followed by a party to honor the troupe--the third presentation in the Cruzando Fronteras fest sponsored by the Dance Center of Columbia College--and the beginning of the Spring Festival of Dance, of which these performances are also a part. "Celebracion de Primavera!" will be held at the Chicago Hilton and Towers and is free to Thursday-night ticket holders.) Danzahoy continues its engagement with the evening-length Huespedes ("Footprints") by artistic director Adriana Urdaneta next Saturday, March 23, at 8, also at the Merle Reskin Theatre. $10-$30. (Free preview Tuesday at 12:15 in the auditorium of the Chicago Cultural Center, 78 E. Washington; call 989-3310 for info.) --Laura Molzahn
Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): photo/Roland Streuli.