I knew when I was given 3D glasses on Friday night prior to Tesseract (at Brooklyn Academy of Music) that this was not going to be your usual dance performance. But wait a minute. That’s not quite true. I knew that already, because Charles Atlas was involved. I chose this show for that reason — I had not yet experienced his experimental video art and I was curious about it. Adding to the appeal was the chance to see the work of his fellow Merce Cunningham Dance Company almni, dancers/choreographers Rashaun Mitchell and Silas Riener. Part I of the evening was an otherworldly 3D dance video that almost felt like being transported into multiple video games. Each had its own creative set and costumes, and each featured simple, well-executed dance moves made extraordinary by the videography. After intermission, we were treated to Part II: a live performance which was shot with a Steadicam, manipulated and projected onto a scrim in real time. It was often a bit distracting, and seemed somewhat incongruent, but the spirit of experimentation was thrilling. At times ethereal, both the fabulous dancing, cinematography, and unearthly music lulled me into another dimension. My guess was that the dance moves had to be rather simple so that the video manipulation would work best? I was dismayed to find myself watching the projected images more than the real dancers. (Oh no! Am I addicted to screens rather than real life?) Perhaps that was the point because it felt alternately real and virtual and that is something I had not yet experienced at a dance performance. Or maybe it was all a hologram? Only Charles Atlas and the choreographers and dancers know for sure!
So, I guess it’s a wrap on my culture blog for awhile, because I am unable to attend many performances this Winter/Spring. Farewell 2017 Next Wave Festival. It was fabulous, as always. I never have the time/money to see everything I hope to see, but what I did experience this fall will fill my creative well for at least another year! Thank you, BAM! For those of you out there writing about performances you have seen, keep up the hard work because I rely on your dispatches when I am unable to go to the shows myself!