Saturday, November 2, 2013


It’s no secret that the LUMINARIUM DANCE COMPANY is one of the most intelligent and innovative dance troupes in Boston. Their current effort, SECRETS AND MOTION (playing through Nov. 2nd @ B.U. Dance Theater) is a marvel of light, shadow, motion and emotion.

Artistic directors Merli V. Guerra and Kimberleigh A. Holman move the art to a new level, utilizing the written (and spoken) word not just as inspiration but as an integral part of the dance. Witness Holman’s Neck- Deep (and then some) in which Amy Mastrangelo conjures despair, while the heavy burden of words surrounds her. She eloquently struggles to push down her depression but she can only surrender to the sadness.

Guerra, too, takes literary inspiration for Left is Loss (or “The Prelude”). Guerra gives a tour de force (both performing and choreographing), inhabiting the language of the poem, “burning” and “falling through the floorboards” so that we truly listen to the verse, not just the rhythm of the poetry, absorbing every word.

Both choreographers infuse light (after all, that’s the name of the company) into the very shape and contours of their work: Holman with tiny balls of light for the gossip which passes from dancer to dancer in whisper, rumor, rot and Guerra in Hush with translucent cubes which reveal shadow dancers inside.

My favorite (If only I could come back to see it again) is Holman’s A Secret in Three Phases. Rose Abramoff, Melanie Diarbekirian and Mark Kranz are hilarious usurpers, happily displacing one another, tumbling over each other and leapfrogging to gain position—all performed to a Mozart Piano Sonata (No. 13 in B-Flat Major, Kv. 333). Who knew! The delicious, romping choreography fits so perfectly with the music that I wonder if Mozart had it in mind as he composed those glorious runs!

Special mention, too, should be made of Guerra’s ingenious video (The One I Keep) of Jess Chang awash in tiny bits of paper, snippets of sentences which fall like snow, then fly up like a swarm of insects, ending in a joyous coup de theatre with Chang savoring the last fragment….

And of Larry Pratt’s compelling projections which appear as you wait for the evening to begin, ethereal images of dancers caught by a camera in double exposure, with ribbons of words swirling around them like skywriting, hinting at the supple, palpable language we are about to experience in Luminarium’s triumphant SECRETS AND MOTION.