WEDNESDAY, FEB. 26 The M.O. of hip-hop choreographer and one-time circus performer Mourad Merzouki is unique: Scour the globe for urban and traditional dance scenes in places as varied as Algiers, Brittany and Durban, and then transform what he finds into a rough roux where modern and classical influences collide with the street.
We saw the early and at times uneven results in a 2005 American Dance Festival performance where technical expertise (like Karim Beddaoudia's recital of head spins, which reached 32 full revolutions) was subsumed at times by slick production values.
This time out, Merzouki has recruited an entirely new company of street dancers from the shantytowns of Rio de Janeiro to pursue his latest obsessions. In Correria, whimsy reigns as dancers in knee pants and stockings manipulate twice as many feet as usual (with added puppet leg prostheses) to an altered operatic score. With Agwa, the crew performs breakneck acrobatics and break dance moves around rows of plastic cups—some filled with water—on an otherwise empty stage. —Byron Woods