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Rain Rosas

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Presented by Rosas and De Munt/La Monnaie, co-produced by Théâtre de la Ville, Paris, as part of the Brooklyn Academy of Music 2003 Next Wave Festival at the BAM Howard Gilman Opera House, 30 Lafayette Ave., Brooklyn, NYC, Nov. 12-15.

The Rosas company is an eclectic group of athlete-dancers who begin "Rain," Anne Teresa De Keersmaeker's 2003 Next Wave Festival entry, with a burst of energy—simply running in circles around the stage at top speed. It has been seen before, in other choreography, but never has it been more effective. At intervals, one dancer will break away to do her own combination, another will pick it up, twos and threes contribute, but the opening force generated by the running is never far from the core of this courageous and exhilarating work.

De Keersmaeker's process is fascinating. Her dancers keep up an exhausting pace, not only the running, but also combinations of hitch kicks, flip-overs, and partnering that is timed to perfection. How she keeps track of the activity of these 10 dancers is an amazing feat in itself. Just when one thinks they are scattered out of the line of vision, impossible to follow, they join together and all is well. The music, Steve Reich's "Music for 18 Musicians," performed live by musical groups Ictus and Synergy Vocals, is completely intertwined with the choreography, so that it would be difficult to imagine one existing without the other.

Jan Versweyveld has designed a half-circle of hanging ropes as a curtain surrounding the backstage area. It sways with the airflow created by the dancers, and serves to hide the musicians playing behind it. At times the dancers also quietly disappear through the long strands, only to turn and quickly run forward like an unexpected gush of water to the edge of the stage. It is a breath-stopping moment.

Dries Van Noten has dressed the dancers in summer street wear, tees, and an assortment of Capri pants, using pink—either muted or full blush—as an interruption in the basic washed-out beiges and grays.

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