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Companhia de Dança Deborah Colker Presents "4X4" at New York City Center
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Companhia de Dança Deborah Colker Presents "4X4" at New York City Center

- Onstage with the Dancers

Petrobas Presents:

Companhia de Dança
Deborah Colker


(Companhia de Dança Website)

Artistic Director: Deborah Colker
Executive Director: João Elias
Choreography: Deborah Colker

At New York City Center
131 West 55th Street
New York, NY 10019

Art Direction & Set Design: Gringo Cardía
Musical Direction: Berna Ceppas
Lighting: Jorginho de Carvalho
Costumes: Yamê Reis
Co-Direction & Photography: Flavio Colker
Video: Paulo Severo
Production: Gledson Teixeira
Technical Director & Lighting Operation: Eduardo Rangel
Stage Director: Henrique de Sousa
Advertising: GRW Advertising
Local Producer: Béco Dranoff

Public Relations: Keith Sherman & Associates, Inc.

Dr. Roberta E. Zlokower
October 22, 2009


Some People
Overture – The Girls

Deborah Colker’s 4X4 is a mixed bag from her Rio-based Companhia de Dança, with the first segment, “Corners”, in gravity defying athleticism, the second segment, “Table”, in a strange merging of dancers and machinery, the third segment, “Some People”, in an even stranger merging of Disney and exhibitionism, and the fourth segment, “Vases”, in geometrically choreographed grids of dancers and china vases. There was much to focus on in this unusual dance production, and it would be impossible to define its genre. This is certainly not ballet, hardly modern, and definitely not jazz or ethnic. I would label 4X4 as contemporary, expressionist dance, with uniquely conceived props and sets that enhance the audience’s attention. However, at times, I was crawling in my skin, particularly during the third segment, and I did see, at the same time, many members of the audience with pained expressions, as well. Ms. Colker cannot be accused of communal boredom or commonplace choreography.

“Corners” presents female dancers in non-athletic attire, in increasing numbers, sliding against stage-high green walls, that shift in color and shading. These dancers are dressed in heels and short black costumes, and they are able to skim the walls with muscular motions. Soon, their male counterparts arrive, atop the walls, leap to the stage, and then climb back and reach down for the females’ arms, dangling them in dare-devil danger. The musical score, called “Cantos”, composed by Berna Ceppas and Alexandre Kassin, is intense and electronic, recorded and played in loud, reverberating pulsation. For “Table”, the score is “Mesa-Amarra na base”, composed by Chelpa Ferro, exotically electronic, like the previous score. “Table” has a conveyor belt-type machine on a moving steel table, with dancers on and within it, even Ms. Colker herself, and the choreography (so to speak) is in push-pull defiance of the ever advancing table, as it heads toward the wings.

“Some People”, scored to “Povinho 64”, also by Ceppas and Kassin, on which I commented above, is one of the most tawdry and offensive dances I’ve ever reviewed. With a Picasso-like, prime-colored mural of fragmented bodies, the dancers run about like pitiful pre-teens at a slumber party, strategically covering their own bodies and motioning to the audience that they are being shameful. The Disney score from “Cinderella” has always been one of my favorites, and it will be hard to shake tonight’s preposterous imagery. After intermission (there was even electronic pulsation for the audience to exit and re-enter the theatre), Ms. Colker thankfully but passively played Mozart’s Sonata in A major on piano, while her company precisely placed 90 china vases, by Gringo Cardía, throughout the stage floor, and a few female dancers presented a ballet interlude en pointe. For “Vases”, the entire company moved like panthers through the 90 china vases, never tripping or knocking even one. They danced on several levels, before 90 mechanical, magnetic cords descended from the rafters and simultaneously lifted all 90 vases at once to center stage and then higher above the company. They remained on view, mostly in blues and white, and I found this the most visually fascinating of the four segments. To see Companhia de Dança Deborah Colker, you can check their online touring schedule.

Rodrigo Werneck, Alex Neoral & Ensemble
in "4 x 4"
Courtesy of Flavio Colker

Rodrigo Werneck, Alex Neoral & Ensemble
in "4 x 4"
Courtesy of Flavio Colker

For more information, contact Dr. Roberta E. Zlokower at