Where Are They Now? Luna Negra’s Christopher Bordenave

Dancer Christopher Bordenave.

Having worked with Nacho Duato, Alonzo King, Desmond Richardson, and of course, Luna Negra Dance Theater‘s Gustavo Ramirez Sansano, it’s not surprising that after Luna closed its doors, Christopher Bordenave landed on his feet.

Were are you now?

I am currently in San Francisco, CA through the fall, but the majority of my things are in Los Angeles.

What are you doing now?

Since Luna’s closure I moved back home to Los Angeles. I am currently dancing with Zhukov Dance Theatre, a project based dance company in San Francisco, and I am also working for BODY TRAFFIC which is a contemporary based repertory company in Los Angeles. Both company’s schedules are pretty flexible, so I have been blessed enough to juggle back and forth between them.

What do you miss about Luna?

I miss everything about Luna…the people, the direction, the repertory. There was no other dance company in the states doing the type of work we were doing. Gustavo allowed every choreographer that came to work with us during my time at Luna, the utmost freedom to create whatever they wanted. Usually companies are looking for something specific to be able to market and sell to presenters, but we were free from those restrictions, which in turn allowed truly remarkable work to emerge.

What was special about Luna? What did it mean to be a “Lunatic”?

Dancing Gustavo’s work on stage was the first time I truly felt like I was a part of FINE art. Being a “Lunatic” was like nothing else I’ve ever experienced while training or working professionally. I have never felt more love and comfort from the people that I shared the space with like I did there. Gustavo shifted my whole paradigm on dance and turned me into an artist. I can be very cerebral at times and get lost in my thoughts throughout the work day which is hard for most directors/choreographers to work with, but Gustavo understood me. He was patient with me and allowed me to be a part of his genius vision, along with all of the other brilliant “Lunatics,” which I am forever grateful for.

Luna Negra’s Made in Spain

Luna Negra's Kirsten Shelton & Filipa Peraltinha. Photo by Cheryl Mann.

Split-second shifts and fluid technique ride on thoughtful, thought-provoking choreography set on articulate, authentic artists. Made in Spain, the latest and greatest from Luna Negra Dance Theater (LNDT), performed last Saturday night at the Harris Theater, once again proved the company’s stellar reputation for presenting electric, entertaining and enthralling works. Under the direction of Gustavo Ram?rez Sansano, this small group of dancers is thriving and continues to push the boundaries of local contemporary dance. I fear I sound like a broken record, but if you haven’t seen LNDT lately, you MUST go see this group dance!

In the opening piece, Fernando Hernando Magadan’s 2009 Naked Ape, the elastically eloquent Eduardo Z??iga manipulated the dancers’ actions manually and sometimes verbally through a made up language. “Gibberish, but with a specific idea in the head,” Zu?iga told me. Starched white clothing-like set pieces dotted the stage, one installed with a live mic that when touched by Zu?iga sent the dancers into spasmodic improvisations. Strong performances by all (Zu?iga, Nigel Campbell, M?nica Cervantes, Kirsten Shelton and the continually-impressive Christopher Bordenave) solidify this work as a staple in their rep.

A world premiere by Cervantes, Presente, set to Max Richter’s “recomposed” version of Vivaldi’s Four Seasons delightfully muses on what it means to be present, not stuck in the past or focusing on the future. Fast-moving backward sequences and stunning solo-work by Shelton fly by as little black balls fall out of a hanging abstract white hourglass. The dancers move in and around the balls, even making a separate pile, perhaps trying to save or stop time. Cervantes’ prowess as an aggressive, powerful dancer is matched by her choreographic curiosity and detailed dancemaking.

A new work for LNDT by Magadan closed the show with live, on-stage music from the fantastic Turtle Island Quartet. A chandelier of music sheets and Labanotation notes hanging above the string group, with more crumbled under their feet created a beautiful backdrop for the dancing in Royal Road. The ensemble of dancers again show technical brilliance blending with the musicians in a wonderful riff on the relationship of music and dance. Special mention goes to newcomer Filipa Peraltinha, an outstanding to the LNDT family.