nytheatre.com review by J Grawemeyer
Gypsy Tales is a series of mythological or folk stories
performed by "gypsies"—four beautiful women of exotic origin—and
illustrated through the medium of dance. There are three stories
in all, one from Greece, one from Spain, and one from Italy, the
premise being that each culture has been sampled and infused
with the nomadic stylings of gypsies, who, though feared and at
times shunned were sought after for their storytelling and
dancing abilities by many cultures.
August 15, 2003
Through the dedication, skill and general good humor of the four dancers, we are immediately transported from Greenwich Village to an old European village. Though there is no set and very little lighting, the music and the costumes are as bright and diverse as the dancers themselves, and through the use of a few select dance moves and props they transform themselves into everything from ogresses (yes, female ogres) and princesses to moonlight, smoke and flames.
The stories, which cover the basics of evil, fear and love, are narrated by one dancer and pantomimed by the other three. What is unusual about this choice is that the dances are used to illustrate or punctuate something that has already been relayed via narration, rather than actually telling part of the story, as with interpretive dance. It also seems that, based on their rich backgrounds in Middle Eastern and other forms of dancing but diluted movements, the dancers are capable of much more skillful work than what’s displayed during this show. It is possible that trying to combine many elements of different cultural dances has forced them to choose the most basic moves in order to cover their bases, but I was hoping to experience something a little more exotic. It is almost as if a ‘PG’ rating has been applied to Gypsy Tales. Watching them twirl around Washington Square Methodist church in their magnificent costumes, I felt like I was fourteen—but, then again, what’s wrong with that?