Friday, 21 May 2010 13:16
Elegant movements of red skirts mesmerized the audience at the Curtis M. Phillips Center on Thursday night as the kick off to the Chords of Color for a Cause, a summer festival put on by the University of Florida Performing Arts. The festival is dedicated to featuring performing artists who have battled cancer or loved someone with cancer.
By Mary Manchess
Prelude to Night is a modern three-part dance performed by RIOULT (pronounced re-YOU), a New York City-based company consisting of nine dancers. The performance was created by artistic director and choreographer, Pascal Rioult, after his wife, Joyce, was diagnosed with ovarian cancer.
Rioult’s use of rough, machine-like movements juxtaposed with elegance and grace showcases the body’s strength and vulnerability. The primary focus of the performance is to display how the body is manipulated by disease but maintains a powerful, astounding strength to defend itself, highlighting the festival’s theme of the impact the arts has on the healing process.
While the first part of the performance is visually mesmerizing with the elegant movement of long, red skirts, the second part of the performance really wraps your heart and mind around the toll disease takes on the body. This part of the performance clearly alludes to Rioult’s wife’s fight with cancer.
The scene begins with dancer Penélope González relinquishing her clothes to another dancer dressed as a nurse. Four male dancers dressed in lighter versions of white lab coats then begin to control González’s dance movements, emphasizing her lack of control over her body.
The nurse reenters the scene as González puts on a white linen gown, while the rest of the RIOULT’s dancers take the stage in satanic-like masks. They begin to violently thrash around González, symbolizing the disease that’s attacking her body. The performance ends with González stripping herself of the gown and taking on the stage with rhythmic strength, displaying movements to express her triumph over cancer.
For information on other performances in the Chords of Color for a Cause festival, visit Chords of Color for a Cause website.