Alyssa Jendusa performs in Kanopy's "Emergence: Gaia Rising."
Kanopy Dance’s spring show, Emergence: Gaia Rising, underscores the company’s cultural depth. The panoply of references includes Mexican cultural history, Hawaiian Hula and chanting, a flying Native American canoe and a memorable dance rendition of Pink Floyd.
In the first piece “Prelude & Fugue,” choreographed by company director Lisa Thurrell, Sierra Powell’s methodical movement inextricably links the audience to an abstract energy that follows the building tension of Vittorio Giannini’s music. The anguished gazes of the dancers angle upward toward the ceiling and out into the audience. And suddenly their graceful movements are veiled by darkness.
When the lights are turned on again, the music of Pink Floyd reverberates through the room for Alyssa Jendusa’s choreographic debut “One of These.” Using their bodies as the metaphorical instruments, the performers discover their bodies afresh in a slow-developing fluidity.
At the very beginning of Carlos Ramirez-Araujo’s “El Ateneo,” a dance evoking Mexican political and cultural history, the audience views four women in white-laced skirts waving red shawls in an enticing manner. The men enter, and their pulsing force drove the piece forward toward a symbolic exchange of the red shawls. The women blindfold the men, who sit in a posture of supplication as the lights dim, drenched in the red light.
Maureen Janson’s “First Faze/Second Chance” features Jessica Hoyt, Olivia Rivard and Alaina Tae Keller performing jaunty dives to the floor. They weave together a cohesive whole, their interlocking parts resembling mirrored genuflections. Well-chosen musical accompaniment, Wauvenfold, gives the piece an electronic edge, broadening its physical and emotional effect.
The more sinister side of life, the power of greed, rolls across the stage (literally) in Kiro Kopulos’ “Propagate.” There are moments of surprise and wonder at the discovery of a container of money, musical gongs, a suitcase containing a hideous doll and a net into which Greed (Kiro Kopulos) hastily wraps himself in a fit of swooning over money.
Celebrations of life, fertility, and youth follow in Tiana Ching Maslanka’s “I Ka Poli O Pele” and Juan Carlos Dìaz Vélez’s “La Roña & Rayeula.” A traditional hula dance, incorporated into a mythical creation story of Hawaii, is followed by the frenetic jubilance of childhood games. The final piece of the night, Marc Kotz’s “Flying Canoe,” was inspired by French Canadian and Native American sources.
Emergence: Gaia Rising has one more performance April 19 at 2:30 pm at the Overture Center’s Promenade Hall.