Luna Negra Dance Theater | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

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Luna Negra Dance Theater

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Cuban-born choreographer Eduardo Vilaro again deconstructs the Latino experience in his new Quinceanera, devoted to the Latin-American ritual of debutante parties for 15-year-olds. You might reasonably expect a party atmosphere, but this full-company work opens with warlike booming noises that evolve into difficult string music; meanwhile the movements of five women suggest sorrowful submission or exasperation. This emotional complexity continues as the work veers from whimsy to seduction to the hopes and fears underlying the mundane details of party planning: who will be there, what will I wear, will I be able to walk in heels? Perhaps most affecting are the vignettes dealing with male-female relationships, the new territory a quinceanera officially opens up no matter how ready or unready a 15-year-old might be. That range is in part the subject as duets reveal the women to be catatonically passive, hyperflirtatious, or jealous and controlling. Yet despite all obstacles the human race gets continued, as the final section--which provides a big payoff--reveals. Also new on this "Coreografos Latinos" program is the romantic Piel Canela ("Cinnamon Skin") by Washington Ballet artistic director Septime Webre, a suite set to traditional boleros of the 50s and 60s. Rounding out the program are Vilaro's Don Quixote Dances, a Chicago premiere set to music by Ravel, Ibert, and Mexican composer Ana Lara; Pedro Ruiz's Sonetos de Amor ("Love Sonnets"); and Gustavo Ramirez Sansano's humorous Flabbergast. Sat 10/8, 8 PM. Harris Theater for Music and Dance, 205 E. Randolph, 312-334-7777. $15-$35.

Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): photo/Kristie Kahns.

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