A single dancer commands the stage, her arms and legs lithely carving the space as the words of Gloria Anzaldúa’s poem “To Live In The Borderlands Means You,” simultaneously sculpt the air. A ballerina’s nimble fingertips etch lines in the sky as she dances with her partner in an ethereal, heart-wrenching pas de deux. Men in intricately embroidered jackets tap out a percussive and precise zapateado. Women in brightly colored skirts move together with force, muskets in hand. Ballet Nepantla’s “Valentina,” which was presented in an abridged version on July 13 at Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival’s Henry J. Leir Outdoor Stage, is composed of these vignettes, each centering around the stories of the women of Revolutionary Mexico: their pain, their joy, their loves, and their losses.
Andrea Guajardo and Jorge Naranjo in “Valentina.” Photograph by Christopher Duggan
When a choreographer takes on volcanic and iconic works from American musical giants like Leonard Bernstein and John Adams one move they could take is to cool them down with a couple of more soothing European works in between.Continue Reading