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Booming Brazilian

By Sarah Kaufman

I've seen Cirque du Soleil before, but there's something especially fabulous about its newest show, "Ovo," which is at National Harbor through Oct. 24. (If your luck with Mapquest, not to mention night vision, is anything like mine, plan a LOT of time for getting there. But it's worth it.) I saw it on Friday, and came away even more impressed by the gifts of Brazilian choreographer Deborah Colker, who wrote and directed "Ovo." She'll bring her modern-dance company, Companhia de Danca Deborah Colker, to the Kennedy Center Oct. 28-29, so the Washington area will get a double dose of this woman's vivid and playful imagination.

What I loved about "Ovo" was the warmth of it. The performers and acrobats are all giant bugs, mystified by a big, shiny egg they've discovered that really has no further point in the evening. Forget the egg: It's all about the bugs, and their antennae, legs and wings, all in a hot, hot crayon-box of colors. It's a Brazilian Carnaval of creepy-crawlies.

The costuming is tropical and Amazon-y, but the real heat comes from the music--an irresistible musical trip through Brazil by Berna Ceppas--and from the outgoing character of...those bugs. There's a palpable human warmth in what might otherwise be the chilly perfection of the acrobatics, and that is Colker's mark. She is, after all, an athlete herself--formerly a serious volleyball player--but as an artist, she takes the muscular, task-driven nature of sport and marries it to the sensual-emotional realm of the dancer and...you get one trippy night at the circus. I guess that's what I like most about Colker: She can do explosive impact and startling delicacy, all in one graceful sweep.

Oh, and if you're getting there from the Maryland 'burbs, like I was, don't mess around with I-295. Please. Go 495 S for an eternity and it'll drop you right there.

By Sarah Kaufman  | September 20, 2010; 9:14 AM ET
Categories:  Sarah Kaufman  
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