The Los Angeles based urban Latin dance company brought tremendous joy to Wallis audiences with their recent performance of Contra-Tiempo: joyUS justUS, presenting a fusion of salsa, Afro-Cuban, and contemporary dance styles. A highlight of the show was the exquisite setting of colorful patchworks of fabrics as backdrop, and with the superb light effects on set (Tuce Yasak, Maximiliano Urruzmendi), it almost appeared as a Gustav Klimt artwork or even stained glass. An added feature was a piece of fabric on each seat, allowing audience members to dance along, waving their fabrics in colorful unison. The ensemble’s vibrant physical expressions through dance and movement, accompanied by poignant poetry, such as “you and I become us” revealed the importance of togetherness and belonging we must share, in a time of great division and tension in our nation. The dancers evoked messages of positivity, strength, and political activism, in the face of bigotry, racism. Dance and music are the universal languages for promoting peace, love, justice, and equality for all. Choreographed by Contra-Tiempo founder/director Ana Maria Alvarez, and company members, Isis Avalos; Janet Galdamez; Samad Raheem Guerra; Bianca Medina; Jasmine Stanley; and Diane Toledo, each number depicted important events throughout history, such as the water creation story, reframing justice in courts, and Miranda rights to happiness. The finale, sung to Arlo Guthrie’s “This Land,” was the perfect culmination to an evening evoking tears of joy.
The Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts continues it’s rich tradition and culture, offering the finest in dance programs.