Saturday, October 16 1999
Orts' powerful `Rapture Rumi' is just riveting
in its strength
``Rapture Rumi,'' choreographed and
directed by Robert Davidson and presented by O-T-O Dance, runs
at 8 tonight and 2 p.m. tomorrow at the Pima Community College Center for
the Arts Proscenium Theatre, 2202 W. Anklam Road. 75 minutes. Tickets $10.
By Jennifer Lee Carrell
The Arizona Daily Star
With ``Rapture Rumi,'' O-T-O Dance spins and soars through an
aerial work of art exploring the joy, physical power and occasional
savagery of ecstatic love.
Loosely based on the life and poetry of the 13th-century Sufi mystic
called Rumi, the full-length work scatters before the audience a series of
short dances. Some tell a love story, while others explore images of
circularity, spinning and even drunkenness.
Rumi had already gathered his own following of disciples when he met an
older wandering holy man, Shams al-Din. The relationship that developed
between them startled everyone in its consuming power. Eventually, Rumi's
jealous followers apparently murdered Shams.
Rumi went on to write visionary poems, many of them musing on the
conflict between Lover and Beloved. Translating these poems into movement,
Davidson makes their ecstasies both literal and transcendent.
Charles Thompson danced Shams with riveting power. In a solo dance
lighted in high contrast, Thompson's chest and arms displayed a strength
caught between beauty and agony, like the startling paradox of a crucifix.
Matthew Henley danced a superbly impetuous and demanding Rumi, at first
bewildered by his own sudden fascination with Shams.
Speaking from his home in Denver before the performance, Davidson said
this work includes ``the most virtuosic, erotic duet I've ever made.''
Thompson and Henley perform it with stunning sensuality, exchanging places
as predator and prey, shelterer and sheltered.
A chorus of six women dancers created a background that ranged from
percussive to flowing, stamping their feet and darting serpentine arms.
Shams' death occurs onstage, but it seemed curiously flat. Henley and
Thompson immediately returned the piece to the mystery and intensity they
achieved earlier, however.
At its finest moments, ``Rapture Rumi'' itself becomes a means to
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