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Contra Tiempo – Big!World!Fun! in review

July 18, 2012

This weekend Contra Tiempo performed the first of its show for the summer. The BIG!WORLD!FUN! show was part of a family program at the Ford Amphitheater, and as such, was amended to keep the younger audience engaged and having fun. Six “highlights” were performed from longer pieces, giving the audience a taste of what Contra Tiempo has to offer the Los Angeles community. Pieces were paired together thematically, with three separate segments. And if that is a taste, I would love to indulge in the full course meal.

Contra Tiempo – Photo by Tyrone Domingo (all rights reserved)

Although the pieces were short, they gave a good overview of the range that Contra Tiempo has to offer. The first two pieces, “The Duet” and “The Fight,” showcase partner dancing, mostly in the forms of salsa and rueda. Full of energy, partner switching and flashy tricks, it was a fast-paced visual feast. I liked that each of the partners were engaged in different choreography than the other sets of dancers at any given time. It gave more visual interest to the choreography and broke away from the synchronicity which can pull down formation partner dancing. Intermixed in this flurry, was a slowed paced duet, which focused on two dancers dancing separately and yet together. It pulled into focus how partner dancing is a communication form that transcends touch.

The next two pieces pulled deep from the Cuba roots the group draws from. The male partnering in “Moros y Cristianos” was particularly enjoyable, if only for the fact that men are not often partnered together and the dynamicism that comes out brings the energy level to a whole new level. The company director, Ana Maria Alvarez, came out to explain some of the influences and history, to help the audience understand what they were seeing. “Yemaya y Oshun” showcased the women in contrast to the male dominance of the previous piece, with vibrant costumes and clear influences of Afro-Cuban dance.

The final two pieces, “Suave Remix” and “Muchos Somos” were my favorites of the show. The opening movements were captivating and seem to capture a deeper spirit of the troupe. Dressed in white and synchronized beautifully, the dancers transitioned effortlessly into the second piece which pulsed with a fast and furious energy. I particularly like the use of rueda, but without the actual touching of partners.

Overall, I found the show whet my appetite for what this Urban Latin company has to offer the dance community and I’m very much looking forward to the opportunity to see them perform a full evening work. For those of you with families, the rest of the Ford dance series, which runs through the end of August, offers cheap seats ($5 for adults and free for kids) and the opportunity to sample some of LA’s finest dance companies. For more information on the series, please visit:

For more information on Contra Tiempo: http://www.contra-tiempo.org/

For more information on the Ford Big!World!Fun! series: http://fordtheatres.org/en/events/category/id/36

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