Dream Brain: A Collision of Realities


Written by Carla María Negrete Martínez

KT Neihoff in Rain Beats Down
Photo by Linas Phillips
KT Neihoff’s Lingo Productions presented their latest installment of their sixteen month long performance series, Collision Theory, with the screening of two dance films, Sad City and Rain Beats Down¸ at Century Ballroom’s West Hall this Thursday evening, March 7, 2013. Shot by cinematographers Christian Hansen (Sad City), and Sebastien Scandiuzzi and Linas Phillips (Rain Beats Down), the films featured three original songs by Niehoff, Ivory Smith, and Scott Colburn. As a quick recap of Collision Theory’s immense scope, the project began in June 2012 with Paper Trail, an intimate live performance at On the Boards, where company dancers and audience members exchanged letters, a correspondence that has continued throughout the year. Some of the letters were then shown in Reunion: A Pop Up Gallery at 10 degrees studio last September. The project has since included five more events in diverse locales (exquisite dinners, a fashion show, and parties with live music and performance) all aimed at evolving the typical relationship between audiences and performers. The trail of correspondence can be found on this blog. 
Sad City and Rain Beats Down collide into the project as the sixth episode titled Dream Brain. The films dive into visions and subconscious fantasy; these epic shots of the psyche may or may not be reflections of the many encounters and collisions with audience members the project has spurred. Filmed mostly in a rural setting, the unreal creeps into the woods and waters in both films.
Sad City, a four-minute video shot last year, served as an introduction to the main characters in both films. In the beginning, a white warrior queen (Smith), with curving wires surrounding her head and shoulders, floated on a boat approaching land. Meanwhile, another warrior queen (Niehoff), clad in a black dress with spikes framing her bust, crept inbetween trees. Close-ups of two warrior men (Markeith Wiley and Sean Tomerlin) rebounding off the floor and defying gravity in slow motion, intersected shots of the queens. The combination of creature-like noises and operatic voices with the men’s slithering spines as they curved upwards just before hitting the floor, added to the film’s eeriness.
As a continuation of Sad City, Rain Beats Down expanded in theme and numbers. This nine-minute film brought back the queens and the warrior men, but added many more women warriors to Niehoff’s entourage. At one point, the two men seduced the white queen, and as more woods warriors took over the land, the white queen returned to the water defeated. As a new beat was introduced in the music, the characters took on a sharp, staccato movement quality. Eventually, Niehoff led her army into the city and onto a deserted overpass. The group’s frenzied but perfect synchronization provided an ecstatic climax of movement.  Cars passing underneath on I-5 broke the enchantment, clarifying that everything was a dream. What is a dream, after all, but a clash of images and realities?
Judging by the stunning performances, cinematography, music, and choreography displayed in both films, the end of Collision Theory looks promising. The last two events, Viewfinder and The Finale, will bring together audiences and performers once again. Viewfinder will be performed at the end of March at Suyama Peterson Deguchi, and the project will return to On the Boards in mid April for The Finale. For more information on Collision Theory click here.