Groovy music plays in the majestic Eisenhower theater with a striking Joseph Buckingham Basquiat-like art projection art with line drawings and phrases on a blue background. A single couch and lamp sit onstage. We are invited into an intimate yet communal home enveloped by the velvety Brown Sugar and Black Messiah albums by D’Angelo.
The virtual program choreographer’s note includes a quote from poet Nikki Giovanni, “Some say we are responsible for the ones we love. Others know we are responsible for those who love us.” This quote encapsulates the Black Love theme that prevailed in this evening of dance.
With humor, style and grace the company of exceptional artists paired well with one another. Extraordinary ensemble work dotted with surprising comedic moments made the show flow well from one track to another. A sinewy duet composed to Really Love danced by Tamisha A. Guy and Claude “CJ” Johnson is gorgeous. For a time many of the couples appear herteronormativ, however, the show did touch on queer relations as well.
Forced arch turns, sweeping level changes and super suave exchanges performed to D’Angelo classics. Contemporary flavors of Breakin’, Vogue, West African, Release, Jazz, and Ballet are intertwined seamlessly into the choreography with nods to the Nicholas Brothers, James Brown and Michael Jackson.
D’Angelo’s buttery “Cruisin” and epic “Lady” bring ultra good vibes throughout the house and body. Antics from Jae Neal kept everyone in stitches. A slow mo section astounded local dancer/choreographer Chitra Subramanian with its sheer simplicity. A death scene with ghost-like figures touched on the perpetual fear of living while Black. Is Abraham pointing out that we must protect Black families so they can grow and prosper?
Parts of the evening reminded me that when people are in love, the surrounding community has all kinds of ways of helping or hurting them. Highly recommend An Untitled Love. Curious what is down the road for this company.
Copyright by Sylvana Christopher 2022.