Review by Kathy Carpenter
Photos courtesy Eva Anderson
October 15, 2018, (City Heights) – Questa, the chronicles of an American family, is a celebration of director Spencer John Powell's ancestors from the beautiful little village of Questa, New Mexico. Alex Haley once said, "In every conceivable manner, the family is the link to our past, bridge to our future." Powell celebrates his family with this dance tribute, performed by Visionary Dance Theatre in 13 amazing contemporary dance numbers.
The show started with Ute Kiowa Comanche and the Little Village. The music was La Colmena, a beautiful Indian tune with a primal beat. The dancers were co-choreographers for this one, proving they are multi-talented individuals with a lot to offer, John Powell tapping into the creativity and letting them shine.
My favorite dance was La Llorona, performed to the music Chavela Vargas, a solo dance by Tanya Lewis. This was the second number in the show. However, all dancers poured their hearts into their performances, leaving their emotion on the dance floor.
Most of the dances were energetic with a more frenzied pace. The music was fast-paced Spanish with almost a hard rock beat. My personal preference is for slower, graceful controlled movements and there were moments of this, even some ballet-type movements, though I could appreciate the sheer athleticism of the performers. My sister loved the dancing; she said it was real, showing who they were and expressing their passion and emotions.
Spencer John Powell brought his ancestors to life through a chronological of dance, dedicating different dances to members of his family. He has traced their heritage which includes Spanish, Jewish, French and African lineage.
But there is more than one kind of family. The dance family, Visionary Dance Theatre enabled us to bridge the gap for a glimpse into the past as we watched performances from future entertainers.
Visionary reaches out a hand to inner-city youth, providing true diversity in dance. Their studio in La Mesa is a place where everyone, no matter who they are, has a chance to dance. Multiple races were represented in this show.
Visionary is doing great work. But there are many dance companies out there. All need support. Maybe you have no time to come out to watch these wonderful dancers but consider a donation to help give someone a chance to make their dreams happen. www.visionaryDanceTheatre.org.
Check them out to donate or come to future dance performances. They would love to see your smiling face. Expand your horizons, experience some culture, and support young dancers.
These performances were at City Heights Performance Annex 1795 Fairmount Avenue, San Diego, CA 92105. All performances were from October 11-13.