Luna Negra Dance Theater launches its 2012-2013 season with its annual fall program, this year titled "Reencuentros" (meaning "Reunions"), celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month with new works by Brazilian choreographer Fernando Melo and Luna Negra Artistic Director Gustavo Ramírez Sansano. The mixed repertory program also features the return of Melo's hilarious and visually surprising work Bate. Luna Negra presents "Reencuentros" in one performance only at the Harris Theater for Music and Dance, 205 E. Randolph Drive in Millennium Park, Saturday, October 13 at 8 pm.
In the fall of 2010, Luna Negra brought Fernando Melo's work Bate (Portuguese meaning "heartbeat") to an American stage for the first time. The work was met with both critical and audience acclaim, easily making it a highlight of Sansano's first season as Artistic Director. This season, Luna Negra deepens that successful artistic partnership and continues investing it this up-and-coming Latino artist by not only reprising Bate for Chicago, but also commissioning Melo to create a World Premiere for the Luna Negra dancers. Melo's new work is about expectation and surprise, where common everyday objects appear in unexpected places and are put to surprising uses by the dancers, all with Melo's signature mix of humor and cinematic staging.
Bate, a work primarily for five men set to the music of Eydie Gorme and the Trio Los Panchos, combines the melodrama of Brazilian soap operas with the machismo of Samba in humorous and touching ways. The work begins with small curtain openings that reveal household objects or fragments of interaction, as if scenes in a film, where creative lighting and hidden special effects delight the eye with simple but striking illusions. The men's quick, whimsical gestures give way to off-kilter, percussive movement reminiscent of the punch-drunk intoxications of love, completed with a poetic shower of rose petals.
Sansano also presents a World Premiere, a new full-company work called 18+1, a festive and joyous piece that both looks back and looks forward. Set to the mambo tunes of Pérez Prado, music he grew up with, Sansano invokes the freedom and abundant energy of childhood with a work that celebrates the pure union of sound and movement. "It has been 19 years since I put my choreography on stage for the very first time," noted Sansano. "Exposed in front of the audience with care, trust and hope as much as fear and insecurity. Just like a parent of a newborn baby. Since then, my 'baby' reached adulthood, actually one year older to be exact. This performance is a little birthday party of my work."
Tickets for "Reencuentros" range from $25 to $65 and are available at the Harris Theater Box Office, by phone at 312-334-7777 or online at www.harristheaterchicago.org.