Arts Desk

Perfect or Not, They Sure Seem to Dance Pretty Well

It’s a risk, but I’m going to wager that this weekend’s performance by Imperfect Dancers at the Lansburgh will be a very satisfying show.

Of course, what do I know? The contemporary dance ensemble hails from Naples, Italy, and has never performed in this country before. Hell, they barely come up on Google—the English version, that is. But a glance at their online videos reveals dancers who are not only deeply technical but—and this is surprisingly rare, at least in the U.S.—balance their skill with emotion and passion that feel real.

In truth, the ensemble is anything but an unknown newbie. They’ve been around for more than 20 years and have performed all over Europe and the rest of the world; after this show, they’ll be moving on to Uruguay and then Amsterdam. But you can probably chalk up their utter lack of a reputation here to that odd divide between European and American modern dance communities. For whatever reason, the majority of really awesome companies abroad—and there are many—never make it to these shores.

Imperfect’s show tomorrow and Sunday occurs courtesy of Washington Performing Arts Society and Paul Emerson, the former artistic director of CityDance. He met the group last year in Naples, where he was teaching on a grant from the State Department, and they began to collaborate. From there, it was a fairly small step to decide to bring them to D.C. 

“Sometimes you see a company that is too good to pass up,” writes Emerson in an email. “That’s Imperfect Dancers. It’s where the future of contemporary classical work is going in Europe and its amazing to see something that good. I just really believed that Washington would love their work: It’s smart, sexy, elegant, and fun.”

The performance, titled Sacre, features music by Vivaldi, as well as Stravinsky’s Rite of Spring.

Imperfect Dancers performs Saturday at 8 p.m. and Sunday at 2 p.m. at the Lansburgh Theatre. $18.

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