Luna Negra rehearsal director Michelle Manzanales has been honored for her choreography elsewhere, but the accomplished, moving Sugar in the Raw is her first piece for the company. Based on interviews and writing exercises with the dancers, the dance for ten opens with a series of brief, intense slow-motion duets that convey inexorable, instinctive, not necessarily sexual attraction and end with one dancer bearing the other up. Set to instrumental music by Gustavo Santaolalla, it manages to be both sorrowful and joyous, delivering along the way many piquant, mysterious but evocative gestures: squeezed-together fingers that burst open as if releasing a seed, thumbs stuck in ears and twisted as the dancer looks up, hands flaring around the face. Also on the program are Gustavo Ramirez Sansano’s humorous Luna de Miel (“The Honeymoon”), a mating dance that agreeably blends the lascivious with the naive, and artistic director Eduardo Vilaro’s Quinceanera, about the eponymous celebration of young womanhood, and eight-year-old Amor y Dolor (“Love and Sorrow”). a Opens Thu 5/3, 8 PM. Through 5/6: Fri-Sat 8 PM, Sun 3 PM, Athenaeum Theatre, 2936 N. Southport, 312-902-1500, $25-$45, $15 for kids under 12.
Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): photo/Audia.