Are We on the Edge?

Answers to timely and timeless questions at the Long Fringe

Black Things

Spank Dance Company

Running Time: 45 min

If filmmaker David Lynch were a choreographer and if he brought to that field all the skills and talents he displays in creating movies and if he were working at the peak of his powers – Mulholland Drive, say – he might create something like Black Things. Which is not to say that what Ellen Bartel is presenting via her Spank Dance Company is derivative. For one thing, it's dance, for chrissakes. For another, Bartel doesn't need to borrow or steal. What she does seem compelled to do, though, is offer audiences modern dance that is original, striking, and resonant of, well, sometimes only God knows what, but damned resonant nonetheless. This time the resonance is with the shadow side of our interior and exterior worlds. Bartel and fellow dancers Mari Akita, Amy Cone, Cecilia Proeger, and Matthew Young are dressed in black, on a black stage, in darkness. The only lights provided are ones they themselves hold and manipulate: four short, beam-emitting cylinders and a couple of lights on sticks. The dancers move to the music of, serially, Black Sabbath, Marc Ribot, the Lounge Lizards, Storm of Drones, and Neles Cline. And the choreography is such that all the surprising and unnerving and fascinating things that can be done with lights in these dark circumstances are matched only by the similarly effective things being done with the movement of five bodies through space. Not to mention Amy Cone's eerie and gorgeous vocals in the piece titled "liar!" If we also mention that the show ends with a section set to Black Sabbath's "War Pigs," will that get you into the theatre for a night of kinetic and photic brilliance? Please don't miss this show

(Sunday, Feb. 1, 8:15pm)

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KEYWORDS FOR THIS STORY

FronteraFest, Black Things, Ellen Bartel, Spank Dance Company, Mari Akita, Amy Cone, Cecilia Proeger, Matthew Young, "liar!"

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