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Tapestry's cornucopia satiates the soul

By A.M. Jamison

American-Statesman Staff

Wednesday, February 27, 2002

Bright smiles and full hearts were in abundance when the Tapestry Dance Company presented "Esprit! The Souls of Rhythm" Friday night.

Tapestry artistic director Acia Gray and choreographer Nicholas Young brought together traditional dances from across the world and weaved a beautiful, colorful, textured, um, tapestry.

Not only did the program beam a spotlight on local folk troupes, but "Esprit!" seamlessly interlaced all those traditions with Tapestry's brand of jazz, contemporary ballet and rhythm tap.

It was a visual feast from the show's dreamlike start to its thunderous finish.

The show opened with dancers from each tradition adorned in splendor. A mist hung in the air, and soothing New Age music played as they walked in a trancelike state as souls or characters in a dream.

They slowly drifted past each other, then disappeared.

And the feast began.

There was Indian soloist Anu Naimpally, bending and swaying her delicate hands and arms while her bell-laced feet pounded the floor.

There were ripples of pink, blue and red as the girls of Love of China created art with ribbons and fans.

There was a Celtic hoedown when the Irish Dance Company stepped and jigged.

There was the multiracial Lannaya Drum and Dance Ensemble of Guinea, rousing the theater, the city, the world with their pulsating beats and lively gyrations.

There was Ballet Folklorico, with women decked like white lacy doilies dancing and balancing votive candles on their heads and men dancing and kicking sashes into sweetheart bows.

There was Zein Al-Jundi and the Bint El Balad Bellydance Ensemble, mesmerizing the Tapestry men with their veils and shimmies.

There was Puerto Rican Folkloric Dance, riding "la plena," or the train (the "train" a physical way of spreading the day's news) in S-shaped loops. (Who was the old woman onboard with the pig in her hands?!)

Sadly, the feast ended. But, boy, were we full.




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