Passion Fruit, with dancers Lauriane Ogay, left, and Mai Lê Hô, right, performed "Dance Within Your Dance" by choreographer Tatiana Desardouin's, center, on Saturday night at the University at Albany. (Photo by Loreto Jamlig)
What is the groove? It's an intangible and delicious impulse that when you see or feel it, you know it.
Passion Fruit proved beyond any doubt it has an overflowing abundance of groove in its “Dance Within Your Dance.” As choreographed by Tatiana Desardouin, the hour-long duet, seen Saturday night at the University at Albany, glides and gets down in a seamless and fascinating hip-hop/house club battle between two inexhaustible dancers who defy human limitations.
Aside from a short and charming video that questions “what is groove” by Loreto Jamlig, the piece is nonstop with Mai Lê Hô and Lauriane Ogay trading bops, bobs and weaves in astounding synchronicity. And they kept going and going and going. At any moment, I expected one of them to faint from weariness. But these two never even let on that they were breathing heavily.
The tall, lean Ogay was especially amazing as she did not ever leave the stage, as Hô did only briefly.
I loved “Dance Within Your Dance” too because the piece honors how each dancer finds their groove in their personal shuffles and port-de-bras.
The work begins with the two finding their beat in the electronic music, mixed by Jamlig. They flick a wrist, cock their head, poke a hip or a rib to rev up their irrepressible groove to Axel Bowman’s remix of Maribou State featuring Pedestrian.
As they build their dance, the music becomes layered with rhythms overlapping and the voice of Sam I Am Montolla repeating the phrase “All we ever want.” The lighting by Elmer Martinez defines the space with initially a shaft of light – making it appear the two are passing through a portal into a well-lit room and then transitions to spotlights referencing dance clubs that give special individuals the floor.
Ogay and Ho obviously deserved it. Their fancy and fluid footwork and arm gestures that ripple their torsos make them look casual, like they are just the most interesting person walking down the street. But their complexity and stamina assures the audience that this is dance on a top creative and professional level.
Passion Fruit has definitely found its groove. And for that, the small ensemble will also bear much fruit.