Friday, March 09, 2012

Sensual spectacle an ‘experiment’

(Published March 9, PDI-Entertainment)
By Oliver M. Pulumbarit

During their 25-minute technical rehearsal, the agile female performers of “Fuerza Bruta” presented a sultry number in a transparent pool, suspended several feet above the floor.

The scantily-clad quartet moved around in a tight choreograph, splashing to the meshed beats of tribal music and electronica, smiling underwater at their captive audience just a few feet below the gradually lowering pool.

The sensual spectacle is a popular part of “Fuerza Bruta’s” one-hour, stunt-dance show, according to artistic director assistant and performer Juan Martin Fernandez-Ozan.

The show debuted in Buenos Aires, Argentina, in 2005. Its cast and crew eventually toured and won over fans from Portugal, England, the United States, Germany, Mexico, Spain, and Brazil, among other countries. The nightly “Fuerza Bruta” (or brute force) at the Manila Hotel Tent runs until March 26 as part of Manila Hotel’s centennial celebrations.

“All the cast members are from Argentina,” Fernandez-Ozan said. “We have actors without fear of heights. Many of them are dancers and acrobats.”

He described the show as a “unique experiment … new theater mixed with real catharsis. It’s an experience that people feel in their body … When the audience leaves after the show, they feel the adrenaline.”

One of the six female cast members is Jimena Abente, who’s appreciative of the ongoing “Fuerza” tour, and the chance to perform energetic numbers nightly. “Every show is different because people [are different],” she enthused. “The energy of the audience keeps us up. We don’t feel tired; we just enjoy it.”

A few weeks after its Philippine debut, “Fuerza Bruta” still drew a huge, eclectic crowd to the Manila Hotel Tent. Promptly starting at 8 p.m., the show immediately introduced its audience to its interactive nature. There were no seats because the various stages and set pieces moved around the area, pushed and pulled around by its crew members.

A male “Fuerza” performer dressed in office clothes jogged on an elevated treadmill. The machine was moved across the room, the running man’s number accompanied by dimming lights, sprays of water, and a loud “gunshot” which “wounds” him.

Attention shifted to a wall, where two cable-suspended women twirled amid bright pink lights and pulsating music. The numbers seamlessly blended; eventually, “treadmill guy” was joined by other performers, who ran and burst through “walls” with him.
Another highlight was a number where five dynamic “Fuerza” actors danced on another elevated stage. They soon joined the audience on the floor, picking spectators game enough to dance with them or be hit on the head with small Styrofoam blocks with confetti.

And, of course, there was the jaw-dropping pool sequence, which made some guests fumble for their cameras.

The hour-long “unique experiment” left many in the audience visibly giddy, stepping on confetti-filled puddles and half-dancing to pounding beats as they stepped out of the venue.

(Photo by Oliver Pulumbarit) 

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