On a cold and rainy Wednesday night, at the Brooklyn Academy of Music, Joshua Beamish, choreographer and the leader of the MOVETHECOMPANY, debuted his first full-length dance for New York dance admirers and critics. The piece was a direct reflection of it’s namesake,, “SAUDADE,” a derivative of a Portuguese word that refers to a feeling of longing or melancholy for a feeling of missing love.
Beamish managed to merge two completely different styles of dance, ballet and street-style, in order to pinpoint feelings that are often too difficult for individuals to express through words. The performance could be viewed as a confrontation between feelings that people are too often afraid to admit to unless they are left alone. What made the performance even more memorable was the fact that it was executed by an all-male ensemble, which included six dancers: David Norsworthy, Sean Aaron Carmon, Kevin Quinaou, Dominic Santia, Timothy Stickney, and Lloyd Knight. Although the 21st century has been making history for breaking down boundaries, it is still quite rare to witness an all-male cast perform such a delicate and tender choreography without a lady holding the lead.
As the audience took their seats, and the lights went dim, there was a feeling of suspense and excitement in the room. Although most of the audience knew the dance company and the choreographer behind the piece, no one really knew as to what to expect. However, as soon as the first dancer came out on stage, everyone moved to the edge of their seats. The performance created a storyline of several men, who experience jealousy, anger, madness, love, and passion, which were all expressed through body language and movement. As one solo performance ended, a duet followed, which eventually flowed into a group performance. It was fascinating to witness how complicated issues related to love, such as love triangles, would be expressed through movement without having the words being spoken, or even the music including any implications. However, dance is not just movement; it is also theatre, which was proved true by Saudade. Each segment within the performance, whether completed as a solo, pas de deux, or as a group, produced a stream of intricate emotions, which allowed the audience to be present and be engulfed by the performance. Just as convoluted and fragile as love, each dance portrayed a story that carried those sentiments within itself, resulting in a ride on a roller coaster of emotions.
The performance left the audience in an uneasy state, due to the great reveal of feelings, and how deep and profound the piece was not just to the dancers, but to the viewers as well. The feelings it carried made you reminisce the lost love that once might have existed, but has never really gone quite right. Yet, it had its magic which was worth remembering through the performance just one last time, almost as if it was the final closure.