Review: Rosie Herrera Dance Theatre Returns to Miami with “Carne Viva”

Rosie Herrera Dance Theatre - Carne Viva

Rosie Herrera Dance Theatre returned to Miami after four years with “Carne VIva” which is translated as an open wound or raw. The program was presented on Thursday, April 11, at the Light Box at Goldman Warehouse in the Wynwood neighbourhood of Miami.

The piece took place on a bare stage at the black box theatre in front of a captive audience. The lights came on to the startling image of Simon Thomas-Train holding Ivonne Batanero above his head. He held her for several minutes as she looked down emotionless at him. At times, he struggled to hold her, his body quivered and his knees bent. He continued to support her until he lowered her to embrace her, her feet dangled off the floor. He lifted her again, struggled to hold onto her, released her to another embrace and lifted her up again. The pattern repeated a third time until he succumbed to her weight and collapsed into her arms, then unto his knees. Throughout all this, Batanero is stoic, even as Thomas-Train clung to her knees. They seemed to be in a contest of wills and when she left him he appeared to be in despair. Herrera’s choreography is minimalist with stark images and deals with the balance of power within a relationship.

Rosie Herrera Dance Theatre - Carne Viva
Rosie Herrera Dance Theatre – Carne Viva

Things took a religious turn when Batanero returned with Loren Davidson and Rosie Herrera. They were dressed in short brown shirt and skirts designed by Herrera. Each carried a clear plastic bag which contained sliced bread. They removed slices of bread and wiped Thomas-Train brow and face with the bread. Thomas- Train was dressed in all white. They continued to mop up his sweat as he laid on his back his arms stretched to the side. The image recalled that of Christ on the cross. Here Herrera looks to the nature of faith and the themes of religion and transcendence. They carried on the ritual of wiping his face until Herrera took out ham from her plastic bag and made ham sandwiches which they consumed, before Davidson and Herrera exit the stage. The eating of bread is identified with Catholicism and Herrera was raised in the Catholic Church, The idea of communion came to mind and the act of confession.

Rosie Herrera Dance Theatre - Carne Viva
Rosie Herrera Dance Theatre – Carne Viva

The duet between Batanero and Thomas -Train resumed. Batanero nudged Thomas-Train with her head turning him until he rolled over and into her lap, she cradled his head. He stood with her wrapped like a lamb across his shoulders. She stood on his shoulder then slowly walked down his body, one step at a time, her weight heavy on his chest, stomach and thighs, he bent to accommodate her descent.

Rosie Herrera Dance Theatre - Carne Viva
Rosie Herrera Dance Theatre – Carne Viva

The second segment of “Carne Viva” was a romantic duet between Batanero and Davidson. They engaged in a combative dance to the music of Como Yo Te Amo by Rocio Jurado. The wound is raw and open, with each movement they peeled away at it. They wrestled with one another, their movements visceral They advanced and retreated in a very intense manner, their movements pushed further by the nature of their passion.

All four dancers gave strong and poignant performances in a program rich with images and movements. Additional music for “Carne Viva” included Fade Into You by Mazzy Star; Isla de Amor by Xiomara Alfaro and Louange an l’immortalite de Jesus by Olivier Messiaen. Lighting Design was by David Ferri.

Reviewed at the Light Box at Goldman Warehouse on 11th of April

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