A testimonial to the quality of Regina Nejman and Company’s The Velocity of Things is that they have relieved me of my predisposition against dance shows as self-indulgent non-sequiturs. The beauty and athleticism of the choreography, manifest through a cast of beautifully agile and synchronized dancers, presents a general narrative of collisions and interconnectedness in the universe. I can’t admit to capturing the specifics of this narrative, but the cumulative effect of the visual, visceral seductiveness and passionate commitment of the individual elements more than makes up for any vagueness. The themes of time travel, human servility, industrialized mechanization, and femininity seep their way in and around the pieces, but they’re composites of the lingering feelings and emotions rather than definitive labels.
The show flows as one continuous piece, supporting the narrative structure and transitioning the moments through movement and focus, letting the music follow the dancers’ lead. The company functions as an ensemble, but each of the individual dancers shines throughout and is worth a mention (in the order in which they appear in the program): Kristin Licata, Val Loukiano, Mary Madsen, Nejman, Tamsin Nutter, and Kathy Wasik.
Nejman keeps soloing to a minimum, deliberately I assume, creating another underlying theme of friction: existence through interaction. “Like sands through the hourglass,” five women and one man, each representing more than just gender, more than just an individual, transcend time and space, culture and ethnicity, human and beyond. Nejman as choreographer places great demands on her dancers, mixing modern and ballet techniques with capoeira, yoga, synchronized stepping and moving, lifting, rolling, crawling, and jumping all over each other. Part of the fun is watching these six subject themselves willingly to the contortions and gyrations of Nejman’s grueling routine and have a blast doing it. What a pleasure to watch performers enjoying the strains of their art form.
The music, with an original score by Mio Morales and various contemporary remixes of Brazilian and International styles, complements the performers perfectly and speaks to the intimacy of the artists involved. While the music retains a personality of its own, it functions subordinately to the movements and narrative. It follows these bodies seemingly subject to their rhythm and pulsations, but keeps up with both their pace and emotion. Morales and Nejman collaborate on a cellular level it seems, his music finding and feeling the rhythm of her movements and creating a dance of their own. I look forward to seeing Nejman expand on her approach to the narrative through movement and create more individual characters that can further inform and develop her central motifs. A slight and petty request I offer to encourage more work from this talented company.