Review: ‘Rebollar and Friends: 40 and Up!’

We’ve all heard the cliches about aging: Life begins at 40. You are not getting older, you are getting better. Age is just a number. Once a man, twice a child. The inspiring dance repertoire Rebollar and Friends: 40 and Up!, curated by Artist/Organizer and choreographer Erica Rebollar, shattered those cliches into dust. Featuring 10 delightful dance works, created by ten internationally known choreographers over the age of 40, Rebollar and Friends: 40 and Up! is part performance art, part inner-mind emotional release and all body-shaking shindig.

Rebollar, who founded Rebollar Dance in 2003, has won a 2013 Dance Metro DC Award for “Excellence in Choreography” and a Pola Nirenska Award for “Outstanding Contributions to Dance.” Rebollar not only brought her “40 and Up” friends to the stage, but also performed herself.

Jack Kirven. Photo by Valerie Rasmussen.

Jack Kirven’s segment of the show, “Best If Used By:,” was part monologue – about growing up gay in rural Georgia – and part exercise performance art. The number of push ups he did after his monologue will have you googling how many pushups a person your age can do. Kirven explored the “complications of expiration dates when one’s entire identity, creativity, and career is based on the body.”

Dan Kwong’s “The Healing Blade (Premiere)” was apropos to Father’s Day, with his heartfelt, circle-of-life telling of his strained relationship with his father and his becoming his primary caretaker toward the end of his life. Kwong, a half-Chinese and half-Japanese performance artist and playwright, punctuated the emotional beats of his monologue with a swing of his Japanese Katana sword through the stem of a series of flowers, held over the head of the kneeling Rebollar.

“/CLOSE/R (excerpt),” by Helanius J. Wilkins, a 2008 Pola Nirenska Award winner for Contemporary Achievement in Dance, featured his impressive moves and a jazzy version of Prince’s “When Doves Cry” by Abiah. Carol Hess used her green tap shoes to crowd-pleasing effect in “Partial Recall II.” Giselle Ruzany’s routine, “Dry Cleaning,” looked beautiful and dangerous. Clad in a short white dress, Ruzany’s dance moves included wrapping herself in a large sheet of plastic.

Erica Rebollar. Photo courtesy of the artist.

Rebollar’s “90-second condensation of quick-twitch, fast-fire movements performed at warp speed” to Rachmaninoff’s “Preludes, Op. 32: I. C Major: Allegro vivace” was frenetic fun. I loved the humorous “LOST” by Sandra Lacy, which featured musician Ran Bagno’s “GPS.” Rebollar’s “site specific” dance segment, “In Between,” saw her and Sharon Mansur use not only their bodies, but objects like doors and rugs to create dance enchantment. I liked Rebollar’s dance duet with Malcolm Shute in “Eurydice,” which recounted the Greek myth about Orpheus and his wife Eurydice through dance. There was an audience participation segment featuring Rebollar and choreographer and filmmaker Maida Withers, which was as enlightening about Rebollar as it was comedic.

The dancers created fully-realized worlds in a bare black box space, with nothing more than Ben Levine’s simple but effective lighting design to highlight them. Rebollar and Friends: 40 and Up! is a bedazzling evening of dance and personal storytelling, a can’t-miss sensation.

Running Time: Two hours and 15 minutes, with a 10-minute intermission.

Rebollar and Friends: 40 and Up!, plays through TODAY June 18, 2017 at 4:00pm at Joe’s Movement Emporium – 3309 Bunker Hill Road, in Mt Rainier, MD. For tickets, call (301) 699-1819, or purchase them online.






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