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Companhia de Danca Deborah Colker "Dog w/o Feathers"

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The Kennedy Center hosted Companhia de Danca Deborah Colker in a presentation of Ms. Colker's most recent production, Dog Without Feathers, which apparently based on a poem by a Brazilian poet about a primitive tribe who is living in an increasingly arid region. I had mixed impressions of this production.

Ms. Colker has managed to incorporate primitive tribal dance ideas into her choreography. At the start, I thought "WOW! This is going to be really interesting." But eventually I found it to be too lacking in variety, so I got bored. It didn't help that the musical accompaniment was minimalist in the extreme. And LOUD!!! WAY TOO LOUD!!! Loud as in I felt like I was physically being beaten by sound. So loud that I watched the last 2/3 on the TV screen in the lobby. The dancing was for the most part accompanied by a video displayed on basically the entire rear wall; a video of dancers acting like members of a stone age tribe living in a dry river bed. Given the scale of the video compared to the dancers, the video became the central focus and it was hard to watch the dancing.

I didn't pick up what was the underlying message of the program. Were we supposed sympathetic toward some tribe that is trying to endure in incredibly harsh conditions? Were we supposed to be outraged that they have been left to fend for themselves in an impossible environment? Were we supposed to admire their stoic persistence? Were we supposed to ponder that our ancestors of a few thousand years ago might have been just like this tribe? Or was is an objective depiction of a group of people without taking any stance? Maybe if I had paid attention to the occasional recitations of parts of the poem that were shouted into my ear, but they came across as pseudo-profound, perhaps a loss of meaning in the translation from Portuguese to English.

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