Tapestry Dance throws a pulsating global party
'Esprit 2003!' crosses international borders
SPECIAL TO THE AMERICAN-STATESMAN
Friday, November 7, 2003
Leave it to Tapestry Dance Company to throw a party onstage that leaves the audience screaming and dancing in the aisles. Raucous and sassy, Tapestry's fun-filled "Esprit 2003!" exploded onstage at the Paramount Theatre Oct. 24. A mini dance festival, "Esprit" featured seven local ethnic troupes in a multicultural extravaganza of nonstop rhythms, music, and colorful costumes.
Throbbing, stamping footwork pounded out the evening's unifying pulse, initiated by classical Indian dancer Anuradha Naimpally. Like a terpsichorean round-robin, the guests alternated with Tapestry's dancers, who added an Americanized spin on their guests' indigenous rhythms and moves. What might have been hokey turned into an entertaining display of international dance cross-fertilization.
The volume and adrenaline crescendoed when Lannaya Drum and Dance Ensemble burst onstage with fast, spine-snapping undulations and pelvic wiggles. The African dancers, led by soloist Jean-Claude Lessou, brought the most uninhibited displays of pure joy. Irish Dance Company's young dancers tapped and kicked with precision, offering the closest relationship to Tapestry's rhythm tap expertise. Roy Lozano's Ballet Folklorico de Texas offered controlled, regal footwork and elaborate white swirling skirts, while Puerto Rican Folkloric Dance used props and live musicians in their patriotic exhibition.
Only two troupes, Love of China and Bint El Balad Bellydance Ensemble eschewed audible foot noise and concentrated on fluid, expressive body movements and props, such as colorful fans, ribbons and scarves.
But the evening belonged to Tapestry's dancers, especially artistic director Acia Gray and Jason Janas, whose duet "Crossing Over" offered the precise rapid-fire tapping in which the troupe excels.