by Paula Citron
The Luminato original dance musical VIDA!, featuring Lizt Alfonso Danza Cuba is co-written and co-directed by Alfonso and Canadian Kelly Robinson. The show is enchanting.
Alfonso’s distinctive fusion choreography embraces flamenco, Afro-Cuban, ballet, jazz, modern, rumba and mambo. Her company includes only women, and her 25 dancers are all gorgeous, disciplined, technically adept and passionate.
VIDA!, means life, but it is also the name of the woman whose story is told through dance and song. Legendary singer Omara Portuondo from The Buena Vista Social Club plays the elderly Vida who tells her memories to her young granddaughter.
The Afro-jazz ensemble under music director/composer Denis Peralta is outstanding. Canadian designer Yannik Larivée has created a wonderful set that evokes the narrow streets of Old Havana, while his attractive costumes are colourful and profuse.
VIDA! may be simplistic in terms of story, but its life-affirming warmth and sincerity touch the heartstrings.
VIDA! continues until Jun. 17.
From, the Royal Alexandra Theatre, I’m Paula Citron, arts reviewer for CLASSICAL 96.3 FM.