Nozama Dance Collective’s tenth Anniversary Program ‘RECLAIM’


Boston College, Boston, MA.
December 1, 2023 (considered through livestream and recorded video).

Nozama Dance Collective has all the time been daring and brought dangers. That’s proper within the identify; “Nozama” is a play on “Amazon”, a largely derogatory time period for a robust girl who takes up her area. The corporate’s 10th anniversary program, RECLAIM, honored these years of tenacious artwork making, and set the stage for a few years of that to return. Additionally notable in this system was a cohesive aesthetic, but additionally room for every artist’s distinctive imaginative and prescient inside that stylistic route. It’s clear that this can be a group of artists who match collectively hand-in-glove as fierce creators. 

It was a prolonged program, maybe feeling too lengthy for some viewers members. But, I wouldn’t envy anybody tasked with deciding what to ship to the slicing room ground; each work felt deserving of time on that stage. It was a full feast of lovely dance for all to return and revel in. Commendable works from Visitor Artists Artwork UnEarths, Collective Moments Dance, and Holly Stone have been additionally a part of that feast.  

This system kicked off with Juliana Willey-Thomas’ if this….then what?, a piece each kinetically and conceptually wealthy. Gestures of arduous geometric angles juxtaposed curvy spinal undulations – which the ensemble moved by means of with tenacity and assured readability. Motion in strains reminisced Trisha Brown’s Line up (1976). Willey-Thomas additionally wasn’t afraid to take the dangers of getting no rating (no sound at hand aside from the dancers’ toes and breath) and moments of stillness – a problem for some viewers not accustomed to up to date dance. Mysterious abstraction was certainly at hand, however one which felt accessible by means of its tenacity. 

Even with that abstraction, clear to me was a negotiation between the solitary and communal. Soloists broke from the group, however then rejoined the group’s unison motion – sufficient occasions to change into a cycle, a motif. In the direction of the work’s finish, the dancers fashioned a clump and reached up. It felt as if in group, they have been lastly absolutely empowered. 

Inventive Director Dana Alsamsam’s Day to Day continued the robust, fiery high quality of motion at hand. The dancers’ relationship with the desk – on, and under, round it – cleverly spoke to energy dynamics, as properly permission to talk and take up area. A part of me craved extra easeful, softer motion moments, much less pushed by the rating’s power. But the performers’ pure command of the vocabulary was such that I might, general, don’t have any complaints. Spoken phrase within the rating mentioned the challenges, and significance, of valuing oneself. These dancers held the stage with sufficient confident presence to make that message ring true.

Nell Mancini’s resolute and thought-provoking As we eventual – be – got here subsequent. One performer wrote whereas the 2 others moved. I imagined that these dancers and their actions, their interactions and tales, have been the creations of the third performer’s thoughts and pen. Their motion was stuffed with pure spirit and bodily braveness. The ambiance later softened with hugs, serving to fingers, and luscious unity in motion. They ended with grooving out and lovingly acknowledging one another – a candy human second. 

Katie Logan’s Tripper got here subsequent — stuffed with morphing, molding, and resonating geometry in motion, each on the physique degree and within the wider stage area. The blue of the backdrop mirrored the final frontiers of the night time sky and the ocean. Dancers embraced, after which described a circle with one arm – discovering new potentialities in area. The lights went down on them doing simply that. I questioned, are others’ hearts their very own sort of frontier? Will we ever absolutely uncover them? 

5 Levels, one other by Willey-Thomas,  successfully constructed the grey, somber feeling of grief. Accented motion illustrated the irritating plateaus inside the therapeutic course of. The dancers moved with an acceptable weightedness, but additionally revealed inside energy by their pure bodily power. Via embraces, weight sharing, and unison motion, in addition they illustrated the energy that they present in one another. To finish the piece, they walked off collectively – cementing that sense of energy in solidarity. 

Shedding, a solo from Alsamsam and danced by Logan, cogently illustrated the “shedding” of what doesn’t serve by means of shedding clothes layers. Agitated motion softened with every “shedding.” All through, nevertheless, intriguing articulations and the move of momentum probed the chances of every joint. Alsamsam’s Mom/Daughter employed narrative with simply the fitting sprint of abstraction to discover the timeless theme proper within the title. Simply sufficient specificity additionally enhanced the universality at hand. Considerate gestures, similar to a gradual putting of a hand in care, additionally demonstrated the ability within the quietest, softest moments. 

I Am, from Mari Napoli, saved the stage full of pure dynamism and ferocity. The dancers’ myriad comings and goings mirrored the rating’s sonic multiplicity. They weren’t afraid to leap large, attain far, and take up all doable area. That joined with spoken phrase on rejecting the concept artwork and artists are nugatory, the work felt like a robust testomony to standing proud as makers and sharers of their very own creation. It ended with one dancer onstage; on the similar time, proud artistry will be fairly a solitary expertise. 

The Phoenix Rises, a restaging of a 2017 work, kicked off the second act. As former Inventive Director and Co-Founder Gracie Baruzzi famous, it felt much more poignant post-COVID. As with different works in this system, a stress between the person and the collective resonated by means of the work. But what resonated louder was how these people lifted one another up: actually, in highly effective associate work, and energetically, with the ensemble’s bodily vitality and presence changing into greater than the sum of its elements. 

Alsamsam’s Shedding Religion created a religious air within the ether on prime of a basis of rock-solid approach and athleticism. The soloist, Willey-Thomas, appeared as much as the heavens as ethereal piano strokes rang by means of the theater. Ease oozed by means of lengthy strains, certain footwork, and escalating depth of motion. She remained accessibly human by means of every breath, every motion, every second. 

Awakening, from Olivia Moriarty, provided each subtlety and energy on a number of ranges. Alsamsam moved with deep absorption in every kinetic texture. She offered an inner bearing, but the pure energy and measurement of her motion was an providing that averted a way of self-absorption. Mirroring, call-and-response, and unison motion transpired as soon as Madison Florence joined her. An Exhibit A of the unstated connection between them that resulted: whereas mendacity back-to-back on the ground, they concurrently reached up and located one another’s fingers. 

Florence’s All people Desires This actually shifted the ambiance within the theater. 5 dancers moved to a spoken phrase rating about physique picture struggles widespread to just about all ladies, and the way that shifts as we age. The robust but easy, pleasantly accented high quality of those transferring ladies in black felt like denunciation of dangerous societal pressures to be or look any sure means. Jazzy vocabulary, with a pinch of vogueing, communicated the discharge of such narratives and a joyful embrace of the self – with the fellowship of different ladies doing the identical. 

Alsamsam’s Untold, Retold topped off the present, and saved its layered abundance – each in idea and on the physique degree – ringing by means of to the final blackout. Gestures of closing off the mouth, and babbling sounds within the rating, established a theme of communication. Motion was built-in and powerful, but – successfully for the theme at hand – additionally rang with disharmony.

In a brand new sense of assertiveness, the rating proclaimed “The world will know who I’m…my story won’t be mistold or silenced.” From there, a brand new stirring of vitality emerged. The dancers claimed area extra as they moved: stepping up and being recognized. Serving to one another rise greater by means of partnering evinced human connection serving to in that effort. The work concluded with one dancer stepping ahead into the highlight and the rating proclaiming “and so my story begins” – after which a pant. 

Typically stepping ahead is scary. But reclaiming is price it. The fruits of taking dangers are price it. Nozama Dance Collective’s 10 years of making and sharing daring, tenacious work is actually proof proper within the pudding there. Congratulations, and right here’s to many extra! 

By Kathryn Boland of Dance Informa.


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