Dancer and choreographer Caterina Rago presented her most recent work, Labir-Into with her modern dance company of eight women. The performance ran from October 6-8 at New York Live Arts, a space known for showcasing skilled mid-career artists’ experimental work.
The piece’s title plays on the Italian word for labyrinth while Rago’s choreography explores the emotional and convoluted inner path to self-awareness. Labir-Into displays both Rago and her dancer’s talent and experience. The costumes, by Karen Young reflect the pleats and folds of the book and parchment props used throughout the performance, as well as the suspended labyrinth set. The music score, though robust and beautiful, felt too classical for the winding path of Labir-Into’s performance of inward query.
The group’s Graham-heavy training shines through and the power of this shared technique can be fully appreciated when the whole company performs together. When the eight women breathe and move in harmony, they are truly a force to be reckoned with. Rago incorporated a stunning, but sole instance of weight sharing in a lift where seven dancers raise one woman, feeling and cradling her above them. Caterina Rago’s stunning solo moment comes as she explores the quivering of sound waves, isolating the movement of her leg while maintaining an open sternum and intriguing port de bras as she stands exposed, under a spotlight at stage center.
Watching the Caterina Rago Company is like watching what might occur if Sergio Bustamante’s sculptures could come to life, which is to say that it remains curious and playful in approach, while contemplating inner struggles. Rago additionally demonstrates moments of Pina-like intent as the dancers are simultaneously drawn towards and confounded by golden light that draws them in changing directions throughout the piece. Labir-Into comes to a striking end as the suspended labyrinth descends onto the dancers.
Rago’s work intriguingly presents life’s trials while also presenting the beauty that can be created from such challenges.