An unexpected downpour will dampen, but not diminish, great artists. That was the case Thursday night when Grand Performances presented Guadalajara's 10-year-old experimental dance ensemble, Pájaro de Nube, at the intimate Marina Pavilion outdoor water garden downtown.
Then again, the brief rainstorm was entirely suitable to the mystical, hour-long work "Stones of Water" ("Piedras de Agua"), conceived and co-directed by choreographer Beatriz Garcia and composer Marcos Garcia. This two-night "¡Mexico Unexpected!" program brought us a bit of Mexico's burgeoning contemporary dance scene, which is little represented here. Many gringo minds define Mexican cultural identity through its traditional arts, such as folkloric dance.
The Garcias, though, are questing for new means of expression, like their counterparts worldwide. And as with their contemporaries, they pull from a smattering of international styles: Western post-modernism,Japan'savant-garde dance called Butoh, jazz, electronic music and countertenor vocals. Happily, their fusion displayed remarkable discipline. Theirs is a fresh signature with a distinctive national stamp.
In "Stones of Water," that stamp centered on female mythological and cultural figures that are important to the Mexican psyche. They were brought to slow, dreamlike life in five surreal scenes, taking place in and out of the plaza fountains and islands. There was the skeleton woman racking her body and face in exaggerated angles and horrible grimacing.