The Argentinian Consulate
October 20, 2016
Anabella Lenzu describes herself as a dancer, writer and choreographer to which should be added bringer of joy. Argentinian-born Lenzu, who has lived and worked in Italy, Chile, New York and elsewhere, presented a retrospective from her last ten years of work.
Performed on the small stage of the Argentinian Consulate, the performances did not stint on emotion or drama. The third piece, Sangre & Arena (Blood & Sand, 2012), inspired by the last tribe remaining in Tierra del Fuego in Argentina’s Patagonia, featured dancers in masks that summoned primitive feelings and fierce energy. Agnus Dei, an excerpt from Lenzu’s 2006 work, Amen, was set to Bach and danced by Lauren Ohmer and Dina Denis, both in elegant, full length gowns. As they stretched with imploring arms and beat the floor with their feet in frustration, it was impossible not to be moved. La Morocha, (Women’s Dreams) gave us a different look at Denis, stressing her humor and ability to play a slut who knows how over-the-top her actions are—and milks them for all they’re worth. Perched atop the piano with a blow-up mic, Denis’ character played against sweet-faced Ohmer who appeared with a bunch of flowers she then destroyed. So much for women’s dreams!
Lenzu’s work includes lots of stomping and whooping it up as well as quieter moments as in one piece involving mountains of paper, torn, made into an apron, a hat and a mask, all in the service of demonstrating the grief and anger Lenzu tells us she felt after the death of her beloved father.
This company doesn’t simply dance, they sing, yelp, and make animal noises as in the Foxes, an excerpt from the 2013 program Pachamma with Denis, Graham Cole and Sydney Ruf-Wong yipping and baying. The company dancers are all strong and lithe, unafraid of letting out big emotion. Some of the pieces incorporated projections that are the work of Todd Carroll, the company’s Managing Director and Lenzu’s husband. The evening’s inventive costumes were created by Jennifer Johanos who works wonders as in the kimono seductively removed to reveal a tight red dress by Denis in Women’s Dreams to the very effective half-mask worn by Graham Cole in an excerpt from The Corral that lent his movements an aura of mystery and sexual ambiguity.
Lenzu has been described as an “Argentine firecracker” which nicely sums up her large, passionate nature as well as her intense commitment to the creative process. She has developed a beautifully integrated approach to dance and theater which will continue to serve her and her fine company going forward.
Dancers, actors, singers and other performances may be interested in an upcoming Lenzu workshop: Deepening Your Performance, December 9 – 11. Check it out at http://www.anabellalenzu.com/workshops/