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‘Mariko’s Magical Mix: A Dance Adventure’ at The Kennedy Center’s Family Theater

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Mariko’s Magical Mix: A Dance Adventure is an original piece by Sarah Fornace, Julia Miller, and Princess Grace Award –winner Robyn Mineko Williams, presented in this world premier Kennedy Center co-commission with Hubbard Street 2, in collaboration with Manual Cinema.  Through the expressive language of dance, the show tells the story of a young girl, named Mariko, who is disinterested and restless with the monotony of her life  She happens upon a crate of her mom’s old vinyl records in her attic and, through the newly discovered music, embarks upon a journey that will forever change Mariko’s outlook of her “boring” life.

Dancer Katlin Michael Bourgeois in Hubbard Street 2 + Manual Cinema’s 'Mariko’s Magical Mix: A Dance Adventure.' Photo by Todd Rosenberg.

Dancer Katlin Michael Bourgeois in Hubbard Street 2 + Manual Cinema’s ‘Mariko’s Magical Mix: A Dance Adventure.’ Photo by Todd Rosenberg.

Sarah Fornace and Julia Miller use wildly imaginative lighting and puppetry on portable screens, to transport the audience into a realm made of music and shadows. It is in this world that Mariko has her adventure. There are no words in the production, but through the choreography of Robyn Mineko Williams, every moment is brilliantly conveyed. Add the help of Kyle Vegter’s music and sound design, and the audience experiences the full range of Mariko’s emotions as she discovers new places, makes friends, and battles incredible forces.

Katlin Michael Bourgeois, left, and Natalie Leibert. Photo by Todd Rosenberg.

Katlin Michael Bourgeois, left, and Natalie Leibert. Photo by Todd Rosenberg.

The performers themselves are flawless. Katlin Michael Bourgeois, Zachary Enquist, Jade Hooper, Natalie Leibert, Oscar Carrillo, and Christina Vargas execute each move with perfectly fluid precision. They interact and entangle their bodies with an effortless beauty that is mesmerizing to watch.

The show is listed as appropriate for ages 5 and up, but there really is no age group that the show would fail to entertain. My 6 year-old old son attended the production with me and sat silently through the whole of the show with his mouth hanging open, but I was no less transfixed. I asked my son to tell me what he liked about it and all he could manage was, “All of it. I loved all of it. But especially the guy that took the backpack.” The storyline may be better suited for a younger audience, but this gorgeous contemporary dance adventure needs to be experienced by the whole family.

Running Time: 60 minutes, with with no intermission.

Mariko’s Magical Mix: A Dance Adventure plays through October 11, 2015 in the Family Theater at The Kennedy Center – 2700 F Street, NW, in Washington, DC.  For tickets call  (202)467-4600 or (800)444-1324, or purchase them online.

RATING: FIVE-STARS-82x1555.gif

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