In his new choreography, After Rain, Ramón Ramos Alayo spins a quasi-narrative tale of constriction and release, pairing essential fears with essential elements. Early in the creative process, Ramos interviewed his dancers about their private terrors and constructed a collective choreographic framework to publicly drape their vulnerable underbellies. Putting himself and his dancers under emotional and bodily duress, Ramos’s composition pushes into fear, through fear, past fear. Earth buries, then births; ash burns, then purifies; water drowns, then cleanses.
In parts of West Africa, colors coalesce into three primary conceptual categories: whiteness, redness and blackness. Whiteness encompasses the ideas of wateriness, death, separation, and mediation with the spirit world. Redness is associated with blood, mourning and power. Most complex in this matrix of meaning is the nuanced notion of blackness.
The indivisible duality of destruction and generation is understood in the darkness of rain clouds, the potential of moist earth, the heavy smell of rotting vegetation, the impurities of the corpse, the fertile bride wrapped in pungent indigo, and the purification of green sprouting seeds. As a Cuban of African decent, Ramón Ramos Alayo obliquely cites this cluster of African concepts as he traces the poetic passage of the body through the fear, destruction, survival and renewal.
- Deborah Valoma