Julio Medina, newest Emory professor, delivers two part evening length work
Photos by Lori Teague
The beautiful thing about access to a university setting is the ability for a choreographer to use their desired set design. With the past year of unique, Covid friendly performances, many have not had access to theatres with lighting, wings, or backdrops. It was a delight to see Julio Medina’s latest work Kinetic Poise with a more traditional stage. His use of white marley and projections added to the performance, and the choice of lighting was mature and effective.
For me, I found ridge to be the stronger work. It began with an immensely satisfying phrase.
Instantly, I could see Julio’s idea of truth in how each body embodied the movement. As the piece continued, I saw a play between release technique in the head, and more rhythmic patterning in the footwork. All this time, the dancers felt in their own world. After introspective solos, the change in lighting on the cyc and the sudden supple touch connection between the two felt like a new dawn. A new revelation. The partnering in this duet seemed both matter of fact and caring. Every connection was with clarity and I could feel the weight of the body through the computer screen. Then, the couple separated, dancing back to back for quite some time. They returned together for a striking image of one laying on the other, which I felt could perhaps have lasted for a moment longer. After another solo, the duets end with a soft floorwork phrase. Here, the gaze of the dancers struck me. Julio was starting at one corner fairly focused, while Jasmine Jawato’s focus wandered throughout the audience. A sweet final motif that stood out to me were the small chest bubbles pushing through their bodies in a variety of positions. This ending phrase felt like a puzzle piece of the body in space, which was satisfying and intriguing.
The solo coalesce played with a combination of bound, yet fluid movement in Julio’s body. He revisited the same motif over and over with almost a carefree, relaxed attitude that led into a series of running. The carefree sensation was added to by the use of pedestrian clothing and sneakers. Throughout the solo, the focus seemed very internal. It is clear that Julio has tremendous ability in hip hop as well as contemporary floorwork, and I wish he was able to cut loose and show us some true athleticism in phrase work for a longer duration. I did feel his bound energy and shifting of ideas cut into movement phrases as soon as I felt they were really getting started. But perhaps, that was the point as it kept us on our seats. It was an interesting choice to use Motzart, and though sometimes jarring for me personally, it was truly unique. I appreciate when I see a pairing I have never thought of.
Julio also included an interview which speaks to his process, and I am sure many of us could relate to his statement on the struggles of combining the many styles of dance he comes from versus choosing just one to focus on in one piece. In general, I would encourage him to not feel split, but lean into his variety further, and give us longer, more intricate variations that leap (or glide) from one style to the next. His diversity in training is a strength, and would make him stand out from others in this field. With this, he could elevate his choreography to match the beautiful stage he has access to.