|Photo by Yi-Chun Wu|
Connected All the Time and Still Missing Each Other
Zvi Gotheiner gives cellphones roles in his new piece
By QUINN BATSON
Zoom blurs plenty of lines between audience and performers to make the point that our hyperconnected lives blur plenty of emotional and social lines. Does texting make our lives fuller, or does it empty them of meaningful social interaction? Do texting and sending cellphone pictures share our experience with others or distract us from and cheapen our actual experience? ZviDance manages to answer maybe to all while dancing splendidly.
What appears at first to be a video message reminding us to turn off our cellphones is actually the first of many messages encouraging us to leave them on and play with them by taking pictures of the dancer on stage preshow and by texting comments to a number on the screen as the piece progresses. Since texting and taking pictures while watching dance is the equivalent to me of doing the same while driving, I turned mine off anyway. Fortunately, others are more flexible and participatory, because the piece depends on audience input to work fully.
|Choreography by: Zvi Gotheiner.|
Dancers: Aaron Carr, Kuan Hui Chew, Alison Brigham Clancy, Samantha Harvey, Barbara Koch, Kyle Lang, Rommel Salveron, Ying-Ying Shiau, Jocelyn Tobias, Robert M. Valdez, Jr..
Music by: Scott Killian and contemporary Brazilian music.
Costumes by: Liz Prince.
Lighting design by: Mark London.
Video design: Tal Yarden.
Asst. Lighting Designer/Video Operator: Robert Bradley.
April 7-10, 2010
Dancers and dancing remain the central focus of Zoom, fortunately. After Alison Brigham Clancy's long-limbed opening solo for picture-taking, loping guitar and percussion music with a vaguely Brazilian feel accompanies a wonderfully lithe Brazilian-tinged solo by Robert M. Valdez, Jr. . Softly swinging and swiveling movements get quicker in a green-dressed Samantha Harvey. The first group piece, in bright light and bright costumes and clearly Brazilian music, is fresh and uplifting and fun, a joyous group groove. The stellar Ying-Ying Shiau takes another turn as one more dancer alone in the piece and the world, fine on her own in most respects, and then a series of duets begin that are less straightforwardly happy, tinged with conflict and disparate intentions.
|Photo by Yi-Chun Wu|
|Kuan Hui Chew and Kyle Lang|
Somewhere in the midst of the solos and duets, one woman begins to direct or conduct the images on the video backdrop, sweeping them away and zooming them in and out in a nice bit of theater magic, the first moment of interactivity, with images captured by audience cellphones. A bit later, when Jocelyn Tobias comes out and plops herself belly-down in the middle of the stage with a laptop, it does seem a little strange as she begins to IM chat quickly and cleverly with audience members, like an unannounced, slightly voyeuristic intermission, the texts mostly light and superficial as most initial texts are. It takes a while before most in the audience realize that the texts are coming from the audience in real time, another aha moment.
By the time all the dancers come onstage with their own cellphones and begin calling people in the audience to come join them onstage for pictures or a little dancing, we all feel like one big semi-anonymous group sharing space and time and probaby a bit more of ourselves than we normally would with relative strangers, an experience like, say, Facebook. The video design by Tal Yarden using these and other images is magical on its own, with bodies and faces blurred or zoomed to the edge of abstraction and beyond, often in rich purples and magentas.
Zoom is an interesting, rich piece full of supple and languid movement and theatrical transitions, with just enough sharp edges here and there to keep things lively. The dark and lonely ending, lit well by Mark London, puts two dancers on their own again isolated in space, with onscreen texts of "are you there" and "i guess i missed you this time" bringing home the point that being hyperconnected does not make us any less lonely.
|APRIL 14, 2010|
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