Jump on the bipolar wagon

I was treated to an evening of bipolar performance by colectivodoszeta dance company choreographed and conceived by the eccentric Carlos A. Cruz Velazquez. I met Carlos sometime last year at a dance festival that paired 60 choreographers with 60 composers for 60 seconds of hopefully pure genius (60×60 Festival). Carlos struck me as an individual who doesn’t give a hoot about what others thought of him and just did what he feels is right. Apparently he’s doing something right. His dance company colectivodoszeta, performs at the Joyce Soho this weekend and judging from the audience attendance and reactions, he is a crowd pleaser.

The program consisted of five separate pieces with a pause in between each piece and no intermission.

Gone (…a scar and a feather) opens the evening with four dancers dressed in grey tops and burgundy colored bottoms. The music by Murcof was catchy and really became the source of energy for the four performers, 3 female dancers and Carlos himself. Jump, arm swish, fall, roll, and repeat. Velazquez cleverly plays with level changes, pattern changes, and pauses throughout the movement heavy piece. The glances over the shoulder and looking back behind seemed to signify a search for something or perhaps looking for someone.

Nobody is a jarring duet that follows the lush movement of Gone (…a scar and a feather). This piece was danced by Christina Noel Reaves and Carlos. This duet started a little on the hokey-comical side but developed into a uncomfortable tension between the two. I found this piece quite difficult to watch because of the violence that these two had for each other by throwing themselves onto the ground, kicking, screaming, fighting. At times, their relationship seemed to be a brother/sister relationship or the two halves appeared to be one person fighting bipolar disorder. There is absolutely no hint of sexual tension between Christina and Carlos in this duet which sometimes could happen onstage when you see two dancers performing together whether it is hetero or homo-erotic. The movement vocabulary was disjointed, abrupt, and violent. Christina pulls Carlos off the ground at the end of the piece and his trail of sweat that he left behind looked like blood which could signify a death of a character.

Of shame and leaves (…or recipe to forget) was a nice change to the jarring duet. This large ensemble group of women appeared in leaf-nymph like costumes and was beautiful to watch as they juxtapose constant motion with simplicity in stillness. The music by Max Richter was haunting. Each transition in the choreography was seamless and shows off Carlos’ ability to utilize movement patterns, level changes, the stage size, and sheer number of talented women to the best of his ability. The precious lifts were set against a backdrop of falling women, perhaps to signify a change of seasons. I was captivated at watching performer Ariana Siegel in this piece because her calm demeanor, her physical lines, and soft limbs provided a reassurance that this was not going to be a jarring piece.

On the minimum scent of …(time) started with the music that is reminiscent of an amusement arcade in that creepy-old way. Carlos finally appears stumbling onto the stage with two bags filled with shoes. He appears hazed and drunk the entire time. Three chairs are set up on one side of the stage with a box of mini cupcakes set in middle. I kept thinking why there were three chairs when this was clearly a solo. Halfway through the piece he goes over to one side of the audience and drags a man out to sit down and join him for a cupcake tasting. Then he grabbed a woman to sit on the remaining chair. He forces the man to feed the woman with the mini cupcake. She graciously takes the cupcake and proceeds to eat it. Much to Carlos’ dismay he shoves the cupcake down her throat because she wasn’t eating it fast enough. This provided some comical relief to an otherwise serious show. Throughout the entire solo, Carlos appears “out of it” and dances haphazardly to his own tune unaware of the music. It almost seems like the background music taunts him.

Abandoned thoughts (as if…nothing/ me against myself) is a twisted barbie-doll, sorority girl gone sour trio. The three dancers are clad in pink lace, corsets, and silk lingerie. Extremely physical, almost mechanical, and ridiculous smiles abound. This piece starts out with sweet natured pin-up girl movement complete with bevels and kisses and develops to a violent thrashing of the hair and stomping of the feet. The setting reminds me of sorority girls that are sweet on the outside but are ready to backstab and pull each other’s hair to get ahead. Southern Belles taught to never show any of their ugly sides.

Overall this performance is a mixed bill and I would definitely recommend you checking it out. The choreographer and cast are mostly comprised of recent grads from NYU’s Tisch Dance Dept. (both undergrad and graduate programs) and are very eager to perform with the energy and vitality that younger performers tend to embody. This bipolar performance will really leave you on an emotional rollercoaster. Schedule some time to grab a drink after the performance.

Performance Schedule
Thu–Sat at 8pm; Sun at 3pm
Approximate run-time: 70 minutes
Post-performance discussion: Sep 18
Ticket Price
$15; $12 stu/sr; $10 DancePass

Photo by: Julieta Cervantes

About the author


a global nomad who grew up in cities around the world. A dancer/choreographer/dance educator/make up artist/and part time videographer, her days are spent running around the crosstown, uptown, downtown, Brooklyn and everything in between. She spends her free time watching dance/music/theater performances in the city as well as traveling, dining, shopping (recovering shop-a-holic), spending time with the boyfriend, massages, and applying make up on brides-to-be. A perfect date in NYC involves watching a dance performance at the Joyce Theater, dinner/drinks/dessert at Basta Pasta, and a leisurely stroll through Gramercy Park. For more information about Alaine please visit http://www.alainehanda.com

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