General 8-10-2005

Fringe Shorts: Dance in the Dark

Lightsey Darst saw "Dance in the Dark," which will appear again this fall in a full-on version at the Southern. It's worth the wait and your dime.

Dance in the Dark

“Dance in the Dark,”
curated by Colleen McClellan Ueland, Brian Sostek, and Megan McClellan
at the Illusion Theater

“Dance in the Dark” brings together hip-hop, club dancing, modern, tap, tango, and flamenco into a noisy, energetic hour packed with moves you’ll want to try at home. The performers, young and virtuostic, aren’t new to the stage—several of them (Sachiko, the Collective) perform for money at spots around town—but many are rarely seen on the “art” stage. Their presence feels overdue; this sense of having waited a long time, both on the performers’ and on the audience’s side, sets up great resonance between performers and audience. You can’t not be happy when Aneka McMullen’s “Old Skool” dancers bounce out of the wings; you can’t remain unmoved by Sachiko’s fierce flamenco inventions.

Don’t think street dance is your thing? Consider the metaphysics at play here. The B-boys skip and spin around a single spotlight, treating it as a new center of gravity; what if, their flailing limbs are asking, you had to dance to stay on the planet—or could make a new planet by dancing it? Kaleena Miller, through her tapping, builds a perfect world, each beat falling when it should, when it needs to. I couldn’t tell whether to cry or laugh at the rightness of each of her successive steps. Nikki Cullinan’s a hip-hop ballerina; she doesn’t just do the moves, she lives in them, thinks in them, feels through them. And the farther you are from Angel Adams, the farther you are from god—if god is the yellow string vibrating at the center of the music.

Due to strange scheduling, “Dance in the Dark” is already done with its Fringe run. However, this show will be back at the Southern Theater this November.
Last year, playing at ten o’clock at night to packed crowds in the intimate space of the Southern, this show was twice as exciting as the lukewarm Fringe matinee (dogged with technical problems) that I saw this year—so I’m sure that “Dance in the Dark” will be worth the wait.