Performer/dancer/writer/director Teo Castellanos is back. His new piece, Fat Boy, which opens tomorrow, is unlike anything the hometown homeboy has done before -- and anything you've seen before. With his troupe D-Projects and accompanied by original music from another local favorite DJ Le Spam, Castellanos mines dance and cultural traditions from across the globe, sets it to dancehall beats, and tells a timely and timeless story of human imperfection, of greed, excess, and humility.
The eclectic blend in Fat Boy was conceived during a trip to India, says the Edinburgh Fringe First Award-winner. "It exposed me to extreme forms of poverty, and this became a personal growth spurt and propelled me to write Fat Boy."It comes from my deep interest in culture, spirituality, anthropology, religion, and of course traveling to not only see, but to participate in these cultures. I like to say, 'there are no foreign cultures.'"
What Castellanos came up with is an international aesthetic, mixing up elements of Balinese dance, Dub music, '80s references, and Miami's unique urban culture. It's another commission from the Miami Light Project, which backed him for his first hit, the solo-performance NE 2nd Avenue, which propelled him into the international spotlight, giving him the prestigious Fringe festival crown.
With Miami Light he formed the group D-Projects ("after almost a decade of doing solo work, I had been wanting to establish a company"), and created the hip-hop dance work Scratch & Burn, six years ago. Castellanos says that in general he likes to put out a piece every three or so years, but because of the recession, Fat Boy had to be continuously postponed. Finally, it arrived and was one of the first shows to be performed in the newly renovated Miami Light space in the Goldman Warehouse in Wynwood.
Although the audio and visuals -- the beats, the movement, the props -- promise to be mesmerizing, what Castellanos wants you to take away when you leave the darkened black box is "a deepening of compassion, and a release of fear."Good to have Teo back in the hood. And as an extra bonus, NE 2nd Avenue will celebrate its 10th anniversary of touring, with a performance at the Arsht Center next January.
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Fat Boy at the Miami Light space in the Light Box at the Goldman Warehouse, 404 N.W. 26th St., Wynwood. On June 2 and 3 at 8:00 p.m., and June 4 at 2:00 and 7:00 p.m. Tickets cost $15, and are available at miamilightproject.com.
--Anne Tschida for artburstmiami.com