By HOO SOOK HWANG
ST. PAUL (Nov. 4, 2015) — The Lula Washington Dance Company gave us an amazing and beautiful dance performance at the Ordway Center for Performing Arts on Oct. 30.
Both non-stop natural and abundant talent exploded onto stage. Each dance number was brilliantly creative and truly impactful. Led by Lula Washington, founder, artistic director, and choreographer since 1980, the eloquent and profound dance numbers both inspired and energized the audience.
The legacies of those who walked before us were uniquely woven into an amazing dance celebration and depicted literally when the dancers walked across the backs of those who came before. The performers explored human rights issues related to global peace, race relations and the consequences of ethnocultural biases.
Drawing on multiple composers and multiple musical traditions, Washington created a powerful and poignant confrontation of the painful and joyful dynamics of our world in the 21st century. From “Messages to My Peeps,” a commissioned piece addressing violence and racism, to the exuberant gospel number “Reign,” the Lula Washington Dance Company displayed the full range of human experience.
Prior to attending, I would not have imagined that so much and incredible talent could be stored in the DNA of one human being, let alone an entire company of dancers. The Lula Washington Dance Company was, hands down, the best performance I’ve seen at the Ordway in the last few years.
The performance asked the audience to ponder unanswered questions such as, how can we confront racism and move towards healing?” and, what needs to happen so that we can construct a more cohesive, loving and caring society?” The dancers embodied hopeful beliefs, attitudes and realities about the true meaning of racial harmony and revealed on stage that optimal human interconnectedness can lead to hope.
The dancers’ exceptional synchrony transformed movement into energetic and moving art. The dance numbers captured the style and grace of legendary dancers and choreographers Alvin Ailey and Judith Jamison. I felt privileged to be reminded that talent used to inspire can change lives. Each dancer symbolized a portrait of all that is humanly possible.
The dance company transformed socially relevant issues into art and challenged us to examine our own potential for growth. Powerful and wise, the Lula Washington Dancers created an artistic experience that reminded me that together we are strong. The remarkable talent of each performer revealed that dreams do come true.