Moving Stories

David Rousseve patches movement and narrative into something unique

Just how the fusion of theater and movement works in a Rousseve piece depends on the subject matter. In a recent work, Colored Children Flyin' By, Rousseve uses stylized prose to discuss a pet rat who was, in the black vernacular, " 'flicted." The character's love for this deformed rat gives way to a line that repeats throughout one section of the piece: "Everbody's got something in life they loves better than theyself."

In the hands of a less able storyteller, such a phrase might strike an audience as goo. In the case of Colored Children Flyin' By, however, Rousseve is simultaneously making fun of the sentimentality and relishing it. Here, the role of the actual dancing is to capture the subtext of a work. "We don't want to act out the story, because you get that big trite factor," says Rousseve, "and everything is belittled -- it becomes mime." Partnering becomes a matter of subtle timing and shifting balance, and the ensemble work often reflects a piece's emotional center. Much like his Creole grandmother's stories, Rousseve's dances are mysterious and delightful, a rare result in the often unwieldy concoction known as dance-theater.

David Rousseve/Reality performs at 8 p.m. Saturday, April 5, at the Cullen Theater, Wortham Center, 500 Texas, 227-2787.

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