RITMO Y COLOR festival of Latin American culture, at Harbourfront Centre (235 Queens Quay West), Friday to Sunday (July 21-23) at various times and locations. Free. 416-973-4000. Rating: NNNNN
If you think it's hot outside now, wait till this weekend, when Ritmo Y Color hits town. The festival of Latin American culture and food always raises the temperature, but this time there's a twist. The fest is going to cool you down, too.
Yetina, performed in and around Harbourfront's pool (the same one that becomes a rink in the winter), deals with the origins of water.
"We're including many water rituals, and one of them is to have a shaman, or medicine man, perform a ceremony to rename people and give them aboriginal names as keepers of the water," says Adriana Sabogal, general manager of the Living Roots Foundation, who's excerpting the piece from a larger work that should be completed later this year.
"The full piece deals with the origin of water, and we're planning eventually to have rain fall onstage," she says. "We won't be showing that now, but there are lots of other activities, including workshops for kids."
Of course, water as a natural resource is a big issue these days, making Yetina's theme extremely relevant.
"The show talks about how we're not taking care of our water supplies and the consequences of that, but also suggests how we can turn that around," says Sabogal.
The festival's focus this year is Mexico, and the big dance draw is Contempodanza, one of that country's most acclaimed contemporary dance troupes.
"Contempodanza works a lot with image, rhythm and light," says Sabogal, a frequent adviser and contributor to the Harbourfront series. "But mostly it's about emotion. Choreographer Cecilia Lugo is very passionate, and that comes out in all her works. The pieces are full of sensuality."
Ooohhh. Bring on the water.
Also included are two local troupes with Latin American roots. Grupo Chile is a well-known folkloric dance group, and Los Danzaq del Peru specializes in the scissors dance, an indigenous Peruvian specialty.
"No, there aren't scissors onstage," laughs Sabogal. "It's a kind of competitive dance that's very energetic and athletic. It gets faster and faster, and the movement the dancers do with their feet looks like scissors."