nytheatre.com review by Amber Gallery
August 15, 2011
…unwanted, from the mind of Carlos A. Cruz Velazquez (and creative team) was not what I was expecting. In a theater-based festival like FringeNYC, one expects to see plays with music or plays with dance, in all shapes and sizes, telling some sort of story. But …unwanted turns the genre upside down and stands it on its head. Velazquez offers us an evening of dance that doesn’t necessarily tell a story, but creates emotionally charged moments.
Every single choice by Velazquez and his team keeps the audience watching and interested. The stage is bare and spacious. The opening is stillness and silence and is a bold decision, as the performers seem to dare the audience to experience the next 50 minutes with them as opposed to just watching objectively. He casts six gorgeous and intriguing female dancers who create a beauty and energy that only an all-female ensemble can. He costumes them in a way that seems to accentuate their individual personalities (I wouldn’t be surprised if they used some of their own clothes—there is no credit for costume design). Simon Cleveland’s beautiful light design explores every extreme and perfectly accompanies the original music of Giovanni Escalara. The music incorporates unusual sounds with banging beats and rarely gives us (or the dancers) a chance to catch our breath. Velazquez’s choreography is edgy and expressive. Here again he seems to encourage each dancer to let her individuality shine through. Each dancer is clearly skilled and while they are often performing the same moves, each brings her own twist to it.
I thought I may have missed something by not being able to decipher any sort of linear narrative in this piece. But I am now convinced that Velazquez wants us to have an experience, not follow a story. He intends to inundate all of our senses until we’re pulled into the raw emotion in front of us. He succeeds.