For 12 years, Italian choreographer Caterina Rago studied Graham technique with Elsa Piperno at the Accademia Nazionale di Danza in Rome. Piperno taught her to be comfortable taking risks.
“She encouraged us to push beyond our limits to understand what our limits were. I remember her saying, ‘Even if you fall on the floor, you know the floor is not too far away from your body. Eventually you will fall and you will recover. No problem!’”
See Caterina Rago Dance Company perform Labir Into (“labyrinth”) at New York Live Arts tonight and tomorrow at 7:30 pm. http://www.dance-teacher.com/2016/10/teacher-taught-caterina-rago/
Italian choreographer Caterina Rago has created an initiative to bring American modern dance teachers to Italy. Each month, three teachers will travel to the Istituto Pio IX in Rome, where they will introduce Italian students to Graham, Limón and Horton techniques through weekend intensives. The faculty will rotate over the course of the one-year program. Selected teachers include Rago, Kenneth Topping and former Graham company principal Maurizio Nardi, former Limón company members Ryoko Kudo and Pablo Francisco Ruvalcaba, and Horton technique teachers Karen Gayle, Bradley Shelver and Kristina Berger. http://www.dance-teacher.com/2016/12/bringing-italy-american-modern-dance/
10/16/2016 – La Voce di New York Review: The Beauty of Life’s Trials.Dancers explore inner struggles through choreography, Graham-heavy techniques and lights. -Rebecca Katz.
Caterina Rago and a group of eight women presented their most recent work at New York Live Arts. In their show they share their findings on self-awareness. Their playful portrayal captures the audience by exploring challenging emotions in everyday life.
Dancer and choreographer Caterina Rago presented her most recent work, Labir-Into with her modern dance company of eight women. The performance ran from October 6-8 at New York Live Arts, a space known for showcasing skilled mid-career artists’ experimental work.
The piece’s title plays on the Italian word for labyrinth while Rago’s choreography explores the emotional and convoluted inner path to self-awareness. Labir-Into displays both Rago and her dancer’s talent and experience. The costumes, by Karen Young reflect the pleats and folds of the book and parchment props used throughout the performance, as well as the suspended labyrinth set. The music score, though robust and beautiful, felt too classical for the winding path of Labir-Into’s performance of inward query.
The group’s Graham-heavy training shines through and the power of this shared technique can be fully appreciated when the whole company performs together. When the eight women breathe and move in harmony, they are truly a force to be reckoned with. Rago incorporated a stunning, but sole instance of weight sharing in a lift where seven dancers raise one woman, feeling and cradling her above them. Caterina Rago’s stunning solo moment comes as she explores the quivering of sound waves, isolating the movement of her leg while maintaining an open sternum and intriguing port de bras as she stands exposed, under a spotlight at stage center.
Watching the Caterina Rago Company is like watching what might occur if Sergio Bustamante’s sculptures could come to life, which is to say that it remains curious and playful in approach, while contemplating inner struggles. Rago additionally demonstrates moments of Pina-like intent as the dancers are simultaneously drawn towards and confounded by golden light that draws them in changing directions throughout the piece. Labir-Into comes to a striking end as the suspended labyrinth descends onto the dancers.
Rago’s work intriguingly presents life’s trials while also presenting the beauty that can be created from such challenges.
10/11/2016 – Bww Review: Caterina Rago Dance Company Sparks Passion in Labir Into. -Christina Pandolfi.
New York Live Arts hummed with anticipation on Thursday, October 6, 2016 at the premiere of Caterina Rago Dance Company‘s three-day run of Labir Into. In a bare, nondescript theater, the responsibility fell upon the company to dazzle, to make the space more than just four walls and a stage floor. Not only did they achieve this, but they transcended limitation, taking the audience on a thrilling journey.
The full-evening work began peacefully as a lone dancer took the stage in silhouette, accompanied by the soft sounds of early morning. Carrying a large stack of books upon her head, she slowly and methodically walked her way through an intricate labyrinth on the floor, always moving at a steady, weighted pace. Suddenly, the music warped into something unexpected; a striking interplay of intensity and delicacy that represented the company of dancers who appeared on stage.
Moving with crisp synchronicity and feverish purpose, the dancers started their plight by catching books from offstage and carefully arranging them within the labyrinth. With an emphasis on Graham technique, such as grounded runs and repeated contractions, the dancers ebbed and flowed like waves in high tide, surpassing the dance and continuing the story of self-cultivation and self-discovery. With each movement and every shift in the musicality, the dancers’ exploration of self continued to deepen, oscillating between dark and light, ground and air, illusion and reality. A true standout of the entire piece was a series of floor slides, repeated consecutively on center stage from each dancer. The sweeping motion of each slide only enhanced the piece’s emphasis on spirals, prolonging the circularity of the motion and the cadence throughout.
Though the piece became repetitive toward the end – it could have been streamlined for both time and content – the company succeeded in bringing a fresh perspective to a dance form that has been around for over 100 years. Rago’s choreography is palpably alive, pulsing through the room with sound, motion and light to communicate a much larger story. This company embodies why modern dance is so exciting.
Since February, Caterina Rago and her dance company has received a space grant from chashama at a private rehearsal space in West Midtown.
They are reviving LABIR INTO, an 80-90 minute piece exploring the challenges with which we are faced in trying to arrive at the center of our own personal “labyrinths,” in trying to connect to our real beings/selves.
Oscillating between the dark and the ethereal/spiritual, Rago’s riveting use of space and levels delineates a powerful, mimetic labyrinth emotionally charged by each of her dancers’ laboring to manifest their own internal explorations. Through a contrast of broad sweeping gestures and controlled staccato movements—bobbing, swirling, weaving, coiling and uncoiling, boldly traveling across the space only to retreat again—interspersed with striking moments of introspective stillness, a visceral narrative of self and searching emerges.