by Paula Citron.
Perú Negro at Roy Thomson Hall
Moiseyev at the Sony Centre
Two highly-regarded folk dance companies are a fascinating study in contrasts. European polish and crisp attack are set against laid back South American earthiness.
Moiseyev from Russia was founded in 1937 and Perú Negro in 1969. While Igor Moiseyev saw a global village of dance, single-minded Ronaldo Campos wanted to resurrect the dying traditions of Peru’s African heritage.
Moiseyev is dance on a grand scale. The disciplined company of 65 are all impeccably trained ballet dancers. No Russian villager ever looked as body beautiful, or as effortless of execution of intricate footwork and showy gymnastics.
Perú Negro is as much about music and song as it is about dance in the creole tradition. The 21-member ensemble includes ten dancers, nine percussionists and guitarists (who also do vocals), and two female singers.
In short, Perú Negro mounts a show of fun-filled Afro-Latino dances and enticing music, but Moiseyev is simply one of the greatest dance companies in the world.
I’m Paula Citron, arts reviewer for THE NEW CLASSICAL 96.3 FM.