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September 16, 2006

tba06: dark room

by gl. at 3:16 pm

how could we resist a dance in the dark, one that requires night vision goggles to view?

the crispin spaeth dance group performed dark room at the portland center for the performing arts last night: five dancers on a swath of carpet, flanked by an audience seated in a single row of low beach chairs on either side. the dancers passed out & explained the night vision goggles, then turned off the lights.

infrared lighting flooded the the night vision lenses, illuminating the dancers. the green hues and limited depth of field made the dancers seem like ghosts and made the whole thing feel otherworldly. my favorite thing to do was to watch with the lens for a while, put it down to watch the dark and listen to them breathe and thump, then return to the lens to see what had changed. it was magic.

of course, it's difficult to remember that even though you can see what's going on, the dancers are doing this blind, so when they fall, or fly, or fling, or find each other, they're doing it in a maze of trust and kinetic memory. when they're looking at each other, or looking at you, they can't see what they're looking at. they can't respond to each other's motions. the music was ambient and fairly non-descript, but i began to be able to pick out subtle cues the dancers relied on to change positions.

sven said it was one of the favorite things he's seen since he's lived in portland. to me, it was like living a fairy tale, the kind where the fairies kiss one of your eyes so you can see them dance with glittering lights in an elaborate banquet hall, even though your other eye just sees the grey empty room with the broken chair.

we haven't done much tba this year because i got walloped by a cold. so we missed the "extreme guitar orchestra" and i missed the lecture about "why be a professional artist," along with any others we might have attended but it was obvious i wasn't going anywhere. but i'm glad we made it to this one.

posted by gl. | September 16, 2006 3:16 PM | categories: exhibits & events