Lux Boreal: Función de Estreno 2019

Función de Estreno 2019
Presenta Lux Boreal
March 9, 2019 

On a perfect spring evening in Tijuana, curtains part onto a quiet, bare stage with a lone figure installed on an office chair. Modest lighting focuses on Lux Boreal co-founder Ángel Arámbula in the proscenium theater of the Casa de la Cultura. In vest and slacks, he’s formally garbed but for nude feet dangling below exposed ankles. Like a shoeless wedding guest freed from complete formality on the dance floor, his feet intimate playfulness and action. But first comes speech.

Arámbula is mic’d in the manner of Britney Spears or a telemarketer. His voice, like his dancing, is precise and punctuated, and we are to understand he is addressing not us, but an entity on the other end of the line. He recites numbers. He pauses to listen. Swiveling suddenly, his chair’s wheels and spinning seat amplify the cadence of his voice. The level of Spanish is beyond my full comprehension, though he speaks with the careful theatrical projection of someone intending each word to be understood.

When I stop straining to coalesce new terms, I zoom out and recognize the so-familiar-it’s-hard-to-register presence of an imagined phone, everywhere in our lives but rarely invoked on a dance stage. Manifested via Arámbula’s headset and the cock of his head signifying listening, the phone, even an abstracted one, is a reminder of the existence of an elsewhere. The telephone is an invisible person reified. With whom might Arámbula be speaking? The dialogue seems personal but lighthearted; questioning but confident. The title, Contacto Celeste, suggests a heavenly conversation. Arámbula could very well be God, or an angel. Or, judging by the mischievousness of the rhythm of his dancing, a disciple curiously questioning the divine themself. 

The dance unfolds towards rather than on the chair. Never overly-clever, Arámbula’s moves pulse in the contemporary vein of release informed by strong, direct, sweeps of limbs. Arámbula’s dancing can be liquid, offering a frisson of satisfaction as when your beach stone perfectly skims the water. Interpreting co-founder Henry Torres’s choreography, he is lively and swift. His charisma here is human, surely, but he divinely evokes modern dance pioneer Martha Graham’s principle of practice, as “performance of a dedicated precise set of acts, physical or intellectual” through which, she declared, one becomes “an athlete of God.”