Che Malambo

Jacob’s Pillow Dance 2016 | Che Malambo & Bereishit Dance Company

by | Jul 1, 2016 | Dance

Che Malambo

Week 2: Che Malambo

On Tuesday afternoon, I was sitting in my office in Blake’s Barn at Jacob’s Pillow, and I could hear the thunderous drums of Che Malambo.

I played African drums in an ensemble years ago, and Che Malambo’s drumming had the same kind of pounding, resounding quality. I got so excited, I needed to go find them. I looked in on their rehearsal and made a few images just on my iPhone.

Che Malambo is an all male company. Their work is incredibly masculine and has a fierce energy. They sweat a lot, and many of them have long hair that they whip around onstage as it gets wet with perspiration. Their whole show has this visceral, grounded, intense quality to it. It was just awesome.

 

Miguel Flores, Exequiel Maya, Fernando Gomez, Federico Gareis, Walter Kochanowski, Jose Palacio, and Nicolas Correa of Che Malambo

Miguel Flores, Exequiel Maya, Fernando Gomez, Federico Gareis, Walter Kochanowski, Jose Palacio, and Nicolas Correa of Che Malambo

I asked Che Malambo to make some portraits outside with me, through an interpreter. They were so willing and happy to be here at the Pillow – the whole group came out to the Great Lawn to make some pictures.

Their show was very dark, and photographing it was challenging. Black hair, black shoes, black pants, black background, black floor, low light. It was thrilling, and I was up for the challenge.

 

“the pawing, galloping footwork and legwork, which often accelerate into a swiveling blur of motion below the waist; the astoundingly elastic ankles that support balancing, improbably, on the outside edges of the feet; the speed with which the dancers, their chests held proud and legs darting out from under them, can swallow up space.”

SIOBHAN BURKE

THE NEW YORK TIMES

Che Malambo

Nicolas Correa, Fernando Gomez, and Miguel Flores of Che Malambo

Fernando Gomez of Che Malambo

Che Malambo

Francisco Ciares, Miguel Flores, Federico Gareis, Martin Ciares, Exequiel Maya, and Walter Kochanowski of Che Malambo

Nicolas Correa, Fernando Gomez, and Miguel Flores of Che Malambo

Nicolas Correa, Fernando Gomez, Claudio Diaz, and Gabriel Lopez of Che Malambo

Cheol-in Jeong and Jae-woo Jung of Bereishit Dance Company in “BOW”

Bereishit Dance Company

The other theater performance this week is by Bereishit Dance Company. Bereishit’s show also has drumming – Korean traditional drumming. In Bereishit’s show, the drumming is off to the side and Che Malambo incorporates the drumming into the choreography. Very different uses of live music, and both were wonderful.

Bereishit’s duet “BOW” is incredible. It made me so jealous watching it. I wish I was a dancer and could dance with them! It was just masculine and powerful and featured this struggle between the two men that was awe-inspiring.

When I photograph dance during dress rehearsals at Jacob’s Pillow, my goal is to convey the overall look and feel of the choreography – to stay true to the vision of the artists with wide shots and complete head-to-toe bodies in motion. As I was photographing “BOW,” the lighting and the intensity of it pulled me in, so I made some images that are closer, tighter, and really dramatic. I think these dance images really convey the tone of the piece.

Cheol-in Jeong and Jae-woo Jung of Bereishit Dance Company in “BOW”

Bereishit Dance Company’s “Balance and Imbalance” shows off the dancers’ strength and physicality. It’s not an acrobatic piece, but there are some flips, lifts and jumps that are really powerful and athletic. The piece also featured a Korean singer.

It was one of those shows that had me on the edge of my seat the whole time. Everything Bereishit did was so exciting. Not only physically but in the choreography, too. What was going to happen next? The performance engaged both the body and the mind at the same time. That feeling reminded me of watching Crystal Pite’s work.

Jae-woo Jung, Cheol-in Jeong, and Ji-soo Ryu of Bereishit Dance Company in “Balance and Imbalance”

Jae-woo Jung and Cheol-in Jeong of Bereishit Dance Company in “Balance and Imbalance”

“Mr. Park’s style, seen in his Bow (2014) and Balance and Imbalance (2010), draws from many sources, including hip-hop and judo, the Japanese martial art. In the evening’s most captivating moments these coalesce into something very much his own, with a tranquil efficiency running through even the knottiest, most acrobatic sequences.”

SIOBHAN BURKE

THE NEW YORK TIMES

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