Monica Cervantes brings it home | Dance Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

Monica Cervantes brings it home 

Chicago gets its first look at choreography by the award-winning Luna Negra Dance Theatre member

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Choreography by Luna Negra's Mónica Cervantes combines savagery and control.

Choreography by Luna Negra's Mónica Cervantes combines savagery and control.

Jonathan Mackoff

Though Mónica Cervantes's choreography has won awards in Europe, it's so far gone unseen here in Chicago, where she performs—intensely—with Luna Negra Dance Theater. Now, as part of "Luna Nueva," LNDT's first joint venture with the Museum of Contemporary Art, Cervantes is offering the world premiere of a fierce sextet, Requiem, that reveals both a wild, innovative spirit and a knack for formal control.

Exploring both seemingly random and intentional life choices, Cervantes at first confines her dancers to one or another of several corridors defined by waist-high ropes. Glances and subtly rhyming movements suggest a teasing sense of connection between those on different paths. Evocative music—a woman's distorted singing, selections from Mozart's Requiem Mass in D Minor, and the gloomily rollicking second waltz from Shostakovich's Suite for Variety Stage Orchestra—colors the occasional violence of Cervantes's work.

The program's other world premiere is Brasilia, a full-company piece by Argentinean choreographer (and former Pina Bausch dancer) Diana Szeinblum. Completing the program is a Chicago premiere by Luna Negra artistic director Gustavo Ramírez Sansano: En Busca de ("In Search of"), dedicated to his former teacher Marta Munso.

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