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In Performance: LUIS GARAY/Maneries

Luis Garay
Walker Art Center

On stage before the lights go down, dancer Florencia Vecino stands holding a plastic water bottle, and DJ Mauro Ap sits on the floor in front of a laptop. When the scenes descends into a murky blackness where sound and motion are strangely amplified, the audience still remembers that a moment ago the stage was an ordinary place populated by two regular people who could look out and see the viewers watching them. This contrast between formal performance and a quotidian state recurs throughout the piece. Vecino’s movements are at one moment completely stylized, a virtuosic demonstration of control and precision, and the next moment she morph into a casual pose, such a lying relaxed, or an everyday motion, such as an easy jog. Tension builds with repetition and duration of motion, sometimes syncing with the music, other times working at odds with the sound. Each time shadows obscure and abstract the body, reducing Vecino to pale shapes isolated in the darkness, an unexpected movement will remind the audience that she is a person rather than an object. Extremes of dark and light jolt perception, realigning the viewer’s relationship to the dancer: now straining through the dark to catch a glimpse of the smallest movement, now squinting against bright backlight to observe the actions of a silhouette. By the end, the abstract had become joyous and familiar, a celebration of form and sound, and a reminder of all that the human body can perform.

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