Monday, March 9, 2009

Here and Now - A Review

I had the pleasure of attending the Miami Light Project’s Here and Now performances this past Saturday and can best summarize the experience by quoting Keats,
“A thing of beauty is a joy forever:
Its loveliness increases; it will never
Pass into nothingness; but still will keep
A bower quiet for us, and a sleep
Full of sweet dreams, and health, and quiet breathing...”

The yearly Here and Now series has promoted the work of over 65 South Florida based artists in the last ten years. Many of the featured artists have gone on to perform in other states and countries. Saturday’s installment of Here and Now showcased two different performances, Symbol and Various Stages of Drowning: A Cabaret.

Each performance meshed dance, music, theater and film together. Both relied on the cascading swing and sway of body language to communicate poetry, desire, longing and grace.

Symbol was the first of the two performances. Three dancers – two female and one male – occupied an almost bare stage. However, three platforms, which were suspended in the air with plastic cords, stood hidden in the shadows waiting to emerge.

The lights played hide and seek but spotlighted the dancers unabashedly. At one point, one of the female dancers performed a solo and the light boxed her into a confined space. Her movements projected controlled chaos while she remained inside the lighted square.

After more solos from each of the dancers, the two females placed themselves on the platforms and danced while suspended in air. It gave the illusion of birds flying inside a cage – trapped but the desire to fly remained.

During the performance, I jotted down key words that came to mind: confinement, prison, industrial waste, yearning, and freedom’s illusion. All in all, it was hypnotic and breathtaking.

After a fifteen minute break, the second performance began. Fourteen dancers graced the stage and the scene was electric: chattering, constant motion and vivid music. Comedy greeted the audience when water was splashed on some of the dancers’ faces and bodies– giving the effect of a pie in the face.

One of my favorite moments involved birthday cakes. More or less eight stools were placed on the stage with cakes on top of each. Two male dancers carrying a laughing, waif-like ballerina placed her on top of each cake. She literally became caked - pun intended - in sugar and frosting. By the end of the surreal sequence, her laughter became suffocated by tears.

Water prevailed from the beginning to the end of the Cabaret. At first, it was used for comedic purposes. But, as the performance wore on, it became a dream symbol. The last sequence involved video footage of what appeared to be a drag queen floating in a swimming pool. The dancers were also on stage. But they laid flat on the ground, as if each of the previous images was just a dream within a dream.

After the performances, I left completely satisfied. As I've mentioned in a previous blog entry, exceptional art is a reminder that, though as a species we are capable of the most horrible brutality, violence, cruelty and cowardliness, we are also capable of provoking beauty, mystery, tenderness, intelligence, sensitivity and compassion.

1 comment:

  1. I went to this and it was awesome! Both were good, the second called "A Cabaret" even has a Smiths song in it. (I still hate Morrissey though...)
    Guys, this is good for a first date, so she'll think you are artsy! (Guaranteed to get you laid!)