Looking Through the Cracks of the Unusual
A CRACK IN EVERYTHING by husband and wife team Zoe/Juniper does indeed break apart our perceptions of space, time, and reality with a performance that magically blends video and movement. And though the artists are not the first to work this way, they handle this experience in a most inventive and unusual way which at times seems more like a moving art exhibit than a dance concert.
The stage space is divided by two translucent screens on which video is projected, and dancers move in front and in between them creating a fantastical layered effect presenting what is real mixed with what is imagined or remembered. Ghostly, yes, with a shadow of an abstract narrative.
Lighting by Robert Aguilar creates yet another layer in this visual feast and truly expands the usual concept of stage space, creating an array of different atmospheres lending each to a new world.
The costumes by Matt Starritt transform the dancers into futuristic characters with gold paint on fabric and skin and around their faces. Each of the five dancers is striking to look at, seeming sometimes animalistic like a newly discovered species. The music is a collage of electronic sound and operatic selections from composers like Franz Shubert.
The dancing is hard to capture in words as it comes from an organic place resembling at times cellular activity in a petri dish, and at other times contemporary modern dance with high leg extensions and sustained movement, sometimes excruciatingly minimal, that seemed to make time stand still.
An early duet between a very tall and elegant Raja Feather Kelly and another petite dancer sets up a nice contrast of extremes as a developing theme in the work.
Another highlight is when a dancer enteres stage left with a red thread in her mouth; the end of the thread tethered off stage to what we eventually see is an ominous hooded figure. Is it fate holding the lifeline only to release it when he sees fit? Returning later, the hooded figure picks up each of the female dancers and carries them backwards across the stage in an endless journey of trying to get to the other side.
In another sequence, two dancers peel off their costumes and sit facing one another, nude, and begin barking viciously at each other, their bodies contracted in intense fighting postures. At this moment the unusual runs into the absurd and we are lost in a multitude of images unsure of their meaning, like a disturbing dream.
But what is clear is that the overall effect of the work is profound, and is sure to be imprinted in our memories for some time.