+ Add An Audience Review

More Audience Reviews


Your support helps us cover dance in New York City and beyond! Donate now.

AUDIENCE REVIEW: Norte Maar’s "CounterPointe"

Norte Maar’s "CounterPointe"

Norte Maar

Performance Date:
March 25, 2023

Freeform Review:

In the absence of collaboration that was COVID-19, comes a beautiful alliance between two crafts: Norte Maar’s CounterPointe. With seven separate pieces, this performance proves how important it is to collaborate with other artists; to express oneself. CounterPointe reminds us of the beauty and significance of collaboration, not only in art but in all aspects of life.

The opening piece, "Unraveled Rhythms," explored the concept of femininity and its connection to pattern work. The dancers were adorned with decorative doilies, alluding to the historical association of sewing with women’s labor. Through small yet impactful ballet movements, the dancers evoked a sense of sisterhood intertwined by string. This symbolic rope served as a powerful and unbreakable bond between the dancers. Against a backdrop of stunning hand-sewn design, the performance drew the audience into a world of exquisite visuals that set the stage for the rest of the evening's beauty.

The following piece, "Out of Vessel," presented an avant-garde exploration of the human form and its disintegration. The experimental work featured a beating jar, a clock made of body parts, and a foot tree, all of which created a surreal and intriguing atmosphere. Dancer and choreographer JoVanna Parks infused the performance with languid and anguished movements, complemented by a stop-motion video that showcased the breaking down and rebuilding of body parts, which was the inspiration for this piece. The various body parts that composed the human form were separated and transformed into a bird, a jar, a clock, and a tree, yet they ultimately came together to create the dancer. This piece was an odd but captivating exploration of the human condition, a visually striking experience that left the audience spellbound.

My personal favorite among the pieces was "Sideslip." With a larger group of four dancers and four puzzle-piece strips on wheels, the performance was a stunning interplay of movement and art. Dressed in matte outfits, the dancers interacted with each other and with the strips, creating a mesmerizing array of compositions. The merging of identity and art was poetically beautiful, as new friendships formed and the pieces came together to create a divine cluster of art. Witnessing the blending and melding of people and art was an unforgettable experience, one that left a lasting impression on the audience. "Sideslip" was a testament to the power of collaboration, showcasing how the combination of creativity and movement can result in something truly spectacular.

The subsequent piece, "Measures Other Than Duration," presented the dancers in fluid and synchronized contemporary movements as they passed through arches wearing outfits with corresponding colors. The choreography was impressive, and the dancers executed the performance with precision and grace. However, as much as I appreciated the effort put into the piece, it didn't quite resonate with me as much as some of the other performances did. Perhaps it was the lack of a distinct storyline or theme, or maybe it simply didn't stand out as much as some of the other more memorable pieces. Nevertheless, it was a solid performance that showcased the dancers' technical abilities and artistic sensibilities, and I appreciated the beauty of the movements and the effort put into the choreography.

One of the true highlights of the evening was the performance of "briefly gorgeous," a piece choreographed and performed by Tiffany Mangulabnan. The piece began with the dancer emerging from the darkness, shrouded in blue light, and holding a large cardboard box. She proceeded to pull out various art pieces by Etty Yaniv, also in shades of blue, and danced with them, at times twirling and waltzing with these large pieces shaped like mangled dresses. As the performance progressed, the dancer began to tire of the cumbersome art pieces and eventually hung them up on a trapeze. Throughout the piece, the dancer donned a single pointe shoe and moved about the stage, struggling to capture the fleeting beauty of the dresses. The performance beautifully captured the struggles and tantalization of eternal beauty that women often face. In the end, the dancer was indeed briefly gorgeous and fleetingly happy as the piece came to a close.

The next piece, entitled “Cradle,” started with an intriguing and haunting question that immediately captured the audience's attention: “Did she fall, or was she pushed?” The front of the stage featured a large, hanging yellow noose that resembled a cradle. Throughout the performance, the dancers climbed onto the cradle, and they appeared to be very affectionate with each other. They wore striking zebra shirts that added a pop of visual interest to the piece. The piece lacked a clear theme and was often difficult to follow due to the contradictory music choices. However, the undeniable chemistry between the two dancers made the performance incredibly enjoyable. Their waltzing movements created a lovely piece about love that was mesmerizing to watch. Despite the confusing aspects of the piece, the best part came at the end, ironically. The dancers played patty-cake out loud, leaving the audience with a sense of playfulness and lightheartedness. 

The final performance of the night was the highly anticipated "COLIBRI." The music, which was original, set the tone for a surreal and dreamlike experience. As the dancers appeared on stage in their strange but exciting costumes, it was clear that this piece would be highly interpretive. The movements of the dancers were mesmerizing as they appeared to be in a jungle, moving around ancient relics as if they were living beings. Throughout the performance, there were subtle hints of themes such as seclusion and the power of nature, making it a fascinating piece to watch. Although it may not have been the most compelling piece of the evening, the ending was truly unforgettable as all the relics came together to form a human face. As I watched the finale, I couldn't help but feel a sense of wonder and awe at the sheer creativity and imagination that went into this performance.

It's both ironic and fitting that I'm attempting to capture the essence of dance and art in words, for there is an ineffable quality to these art forms that transcends language itself. Yet, it is a testament to the power of these performances that I feel compelled to try. The beauty of dance lies not only in the movement itself but also in the interplay of different artistic disciplines such as music, costume, lighting, and technique. It's the collaboration of all these elements that creates the magic on stage. As I reflect on the performances I witnessed, I am struck by the fact that all the choreographers and artists were women. In a society where women are often pitted against each other, these dances were a celebration of the power of female collaboration. In a world where we often feel lost and disconnected, art has the power to bring us together. It offers a way to transcend language, cultural barriers, and the limitations of our own minds. The act of creating something beautiful with others, whether it be dance or any other art form, is a reminder of the strength of the human connection. When we come together to create something from the depths of our souls, we are tapping into a force greater than ourselves.


Leena Yesley

Photo Credit:
"CounterPointe" poster; designed by Jason Andrew and featuring art by Tamara Gonzales

+ Add An Audience Review

More Audience Reviews