Dance Review

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Brian Cordova and Liu Mo in Kun-Yang Lin's The Song that Can't be Sung, photo by L. Browning Photography

By Merilyn Jackson

For The Inquirer

Posted Nov. 8, 2013

At the Painted Bride Thursday night, the artists of Kun-Yang Lin/Dancers bared heart and soul combining them with superb technique throughout. Of this retrospective evening of dances choreographed by Lin (first seen in New York through the 90’s to 2001,) four received Philadelphia premieres. Lin moved the company to Philadelphia just five years ago, building it to the highly regarded Philadelphia fixture it now is, and with a studio called Chi-Mac on 9th Street just south of Pat’s Steaks.

Liu Mo – whose background is in Chinese classical dance and who has only been training in contemporary dance with Lin for about a year -- takes the powerful solo, Moon Dance (1993,) originally danced by Lin. Stepping onstage, he instantly put me in a thrall that lasted to the show’s final moment. Bare-chested and wearing a long muslin skirt, he angled wing-like arms, jerking them into flying motions. With astonishing balance, he ever so slowly dipped his head to the floor in a perpendicular arabesque. Then, mercurially, he changed direction, channeling Lin’s intensity while making the dance his own.

Lin and another male originally danced Run Silent, Run Deep, to Les Tambours du Bronx’ music and narrated poems. Here with Evalina Carbonell bursting onto the stage, skittering in jarring spurts of movement, the evening’s thrill ride continued. Vuthy Ou joins her and the pace grows more ferocious with daring leaps, lifts and catches that then slowed as she sensuously slithered downward along Ou’s body to his ankles.

Yet another revelation, Rachael Hart stuttered across the stage as if with a broken wing, struggling to stay in flight and mournfully dauntless in her trajectory in 2000’s Butterfly to Un Bel Di.

Former company member, Olive Prince, made to dust [cq]. (Disclosure: I’ve taken barre class with some of these dancers including Prince -- the last in August, days before she gave birth to son Noah.)  She has the company rush offstage and reenter to pose and slouch away, shoulders sloping, bodies angling into and out of stunning groupings. Prince later soloed in Lin’s 1998 Renaissance, exquisitely emerging like a chrysalis from her cocoon of red netting.

Mo’s feminine litheness melted into Brian Cordova’s more masculine strength in 1999’s The Song that Can’t be Sung, a gut-wrenching duet of forbidden love. 2001’s Shall we…?, [cq] a full-company tango, has a cheekiness best expressed by Jessica Warchal-King and a drunkenness best articulated by Eiren Shuman. Flawlessly danced with spiky footwork and sexy thigh-brushing barridas, this was no milonga triste, but a happy ending.

Painted Bride, 230 Vine St. Friday 8 p.m, Saturday 2p.m. and 8 p.mTickets: $35 for afternoon show; $50 and $100, evening Information: 215-925-9914 or http://www.paintedbride.org/dance/kunyanglin/

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