There are periods in every adult’s life when we are forced to return to a state of infancy. David Zambrano began his career as a dancer at 21 and threw himself so thickly into the fray that he sprained his middle arches and could not stand for six months. For his recuperation process, he rolled on mats every day like an infant, or as he says on his website, “a reptile.” In Bonnie Bainbridge Cohen’s Body-Mind Centering philosophy, an infant’s period of rolling on the ground is crucial to their physical integration, their posture, their openness to the world, the development of their nervous system and confidence, and their comfortability with giving and receiving touch.
In the New York gym where Zambrano recovered and retrained everyday were, as he says, “a Brazilian jump roper and an old Kung Fu master.” He observed their exercise regimens and incorporated elements into his own exploration of nearness to the ground and the earth. By the time he returned to standing on his own two feet, Zambrano had developed a new movement practice technique: “Flying-Low.” In Flying-Low Dance Technique, “there is a focus on the skeletal structure that will help improve the dancers physical perception and alertness.” You can see that skeletal emphasis in the accentuated limb movement of the soloists featured in his Soul Project, which is being performed in the McGuire Theater Friday and Saturday night.
Zambrano’s dancers are graceful, but their movements don’t melt into the background like balletic organza. Instead the piece is—for Zambrano—about “being continuously alive. On, like a candle.” When Zambrano’s dancers flop to the floor, torquing and convulsing, it is easy to forget we are all on a stage and not in a club or even outside, with clumps of dirt and grass about to fly in our face. Zambrano’s show shares a similarity with Marc Bamuthi Joseph’s performance two months ago because both pieces invite the audience to break through the proscenium and crash the class ritual of a nice night out at the theater (although you will definitely have that). Soul Project is also similarly joyous, and for a show comprised of only soloists, it’s actually about the power of dance to unite people. Couched in the seemingly atomized format is an intensely social experience.
The ebullience of the piece overflows even its own two night run, with the Zambrano dancers cavorting around the galleries this Thursday night around 6:30 and again at 7:30, perhaps even for a cameo during Colin Stetson’s Sound Horizon set in the Ernesto Neto room. In other words, Target Free Thursday Night has quite a bit to offer Performing Arts fans this week.
Lastly, Zambrano company dancers are offering workshops at Walker on the Flying-Low Technique tomorrow morning (Wednesday) from 9:30-11:30 am and Saturday morning from 11 am-1pm. Space is limited; registration is required by calling 612.375.7600.