Havana-based Malpaso Dance Company steps out at The Clarice

It’s been a little additional than a decade because Osnel Delgado and Daileidys Carrazana walked absent from Danza Contemporanea de Cuba, wherever they were firm members, to create their possess impartial troupe. With Fernando Saez, who brought small business administration and fundraising to the blend, with each other in 2012, they formed Malpaso Dance Corporation. In the 10 years considering the fact that, the Havana-centered company has developed into a person of the foremost modern repertory providers in the globe. Under the auspices of New York’s Joyce Theater Productions, Malpaso has created additional than a foothold in the international modern day dance scene by buying will work from the likes of modernist iconoclast the late Merce Cunningham Swedish choreographer Mats Ek previous residence choreographer and artistic director of Batsheva Dance Enterprise Ohad Naharin and commissions from Rennie Harris, Aszure Barton, Trey McIntyre, and Sonya Taya to name a couple of. And simultaneously, the two Delgado and Carranzana have been crafting functions with an plain Cuban aptitude for the corporation.

Malpaso. Image by Nir Arieli.

In Washington, the troupe has danced at equally Dance Put and the Kennedy Center. Wednesday, April 27, immediately after a two-yr-furthermore hold off, Malpaso created its debut at the College of Maryland’s Kay Theatre, offered by The Clarice. Four items showcased the 10 dancers’ travel, indomitable spirit, and unassailable complex capabilities. From my very own fast take a look at to Havana in 2015, I learned that Cubans commonly are a innovative and musical people. And, wow, every person can dance. Saturday afternoons, audio wafts from dance halls and local community centers the place partners acquire to salsa and socialize.

Barton’s hypnotic “Stillness in Bloom,” choreographed in 2021, is a pandemic piece in the subtlest of techniques. It doesn’t sense constrained — like a good-numerous “living room”-sized and -shaped dances that ended up built final yr for video and modest levels. Avant-garde California-primarily based jazz trumpeter Ambrose Akinmusire established a rating that sets the dancers off into currents of motion then pauses for situations of repose. Clad in a wide range of work out dress in in vibrant swatches of coloration, two gentlemen skitter backward conference at centre as successive dancers be part of and fill the space with easy swift currents of backward motion images of whirlpools and eddies remodel the blank canvas of the phase with an at any time-altering color palette. As the group easily maps invisible channels in the room, the dancers exit leaving a quartet who with each other bloom into balances, a pirouette below or there, higher human body tilts and arcs, as a moody cello accompanies. A few stays, the female dragging her spouse, he pushing her in energy-stuffed counterbalances. As the up-tempo Mingus-esque jazz riffs return, the dancers fill the stage once extra. “Stillness in Bloom” coils and unwinds like a Fibonacci spiraling sequence, and the dancers navigate the straightforward scoots and intricate sample shifts with aplomb.

The application opened with a spectacular solo, “Lullaby for Insomnia” by Carrazana, danced by the incomparable Heriberto Maneses. Channeling all the fidgets and fussing we go via on sleepless evenings, Maneses, bare-chested wore black shorts, stretched and twisted his system, one leg lifting head high, as his torso tilted off-kilter. The piano composition by Jordi Sabates was mood-loaded accompaniment with a contact of Latin flavor. Stabbing times contrast with mild rocking and cradling. Reveries gave way to frustrations, and throughout Maneses’s simultaneously bold and tender attack, his skill to shape and mould the empty room was riveting.

Mats Ek’s “woman with water” from 2021 resembles an abstract Bauhaus painting come to existence. Vivid colors from a lime inexperienced table and dancer Dunia Acosta’s vibrant tangerine change gown contrast with Osnel Delgado’s dark fit and the bare stage. And there is a splash of refreshment: a clear pitcher and glass of water. Danced to a score by Fleshquartet, Acosta’s lanky overall flexibility as she lifts her leg sky high or curves her again towards the desk edge proceeds the linearity of the stark inexperienced table. She carries the pitcher and glass, pours some h2o, and drinks. And repeats. Delgado seems as the interloper in the stop, Acosta has collapsed and is basically swept off by Delgado, drive broom in hand.

The evening shut with Naharin’s 1986 “Tabula Rasa.” The choreographer created the piece for Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre additional than 30 many years back and used time in Havana in 2018 educating Malpaso’s dancers the work. There have been improvements, as Naharin’s approach has modified as have the dancers. As well, the much more official costumes — slip attire and slacks and puffy-sleeved tops for the adult men — have now turn out to be normal practice don, t-shirts, leggings, or shorts for Malpaso’s dancers.

Malpaso. Photo by Todd Rosenberg.

The mesmerizing opening, an accumulation of dancers executing a simple side-to-aspect sway and move sideways, feels both equally calming and charming. Naharin favors uncomplicated floor styles — dancers in straight strains, diagonals, or circles — on which he overlays a movement language he named gaga. Gaga demands deep emphasis and consciousness from the dancers and complete attentiveness to how their bodies shift from the inside of out, inquiring them to reach internally for commitment. The consequence is an frequently visceral, earthy feeling of assault.

In “Tabula Rasa,” which was produced comparatively early in Naharin’s choreographic profession, we can see him thoughtfully breaking down the standard and expected movement motifs of dance’s method to find out a more genuine driver for his very own dances. Atop that initial sideways sway phase, a person dancer stops, interrupting the sample, the sway. There are unison massive group moments together with pairings and solos. At times the repetitive tunes by Arvo Portion crescendos and then it softens. Afterwards, just one pair is remaining on your own on stage for a sensual actual physical duet. They contort and deal, one particular drags the other like a sack of potatoes, in advance of the group returns in a flinging sequence of arms and runs circling the stage. The piece ends as simply as it commenced — a dancer alone curled into a fetal place. This “Tabula Rasa” indicates that we are all blank slates at start.

Jogging Time: About 100 minutes.

Malpaso Dance Company, an associate enterprise of Joyce Theater Productions, performed April 27, 2022, at The Clarice, Kay Theatre, University of Maryland, University Park, Md.