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Stroking Its Ego - Review

November 7, 2017|

Post-Gazette - Jane Vranish Jun. 23, 2017

Choreographer and dancer Elisa-Marie Alaio, now in the opening throes of a young and impassioned career, has taken up the banner of a young feminist full of bravado, self-discovery and, without a doubt, sexuality.

With her latest production for fireWALL Dance Theater, “Stroking Its Ego,” currently on view at Carnegie Stage, she delves even further into the feminine mystique.

Although the word “its” is obviously open to individual interpretation, the concept of “Stroking Its Ego” is not. With this production, Ms. Alaio builds on her previous works with yet another journey that injects hope into the lives of young artists just beginning to forge their own destinies.

You could see it in the cast, who made the tiny postage stamp stage look larger as they infused her choreography with high-powered, often in-your-face West Coast dance.


But it wasn’t just a commercial style that was seen here. When blending emerging disciplines such as hip-hop and improvisation into the more traditional techniques found on the East Coast, each new piece created its own personality.

Sensuality from posters to productions is often at the root of dance movement. With Ms. Alaio, it is certifiably heightened, adding a modern-day burlesque to the mix while exposing an underlying vulnerability.

This was structurally the tightest work of her prolific output. Maybe it was because the musical and atmospheric inspiration came from rising cult favorite Allan Rayman, who operates on the fringes of the music industry.

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