Using video, a laptop, sound, recorded speaking, movement, and in person spoken word, ilvs strauss recalls a journey of self discovery taken in a desert under the influence of mushrooms. The artist simultaneously re-experiences her journey and creates an on stage illusion that keeps the audience in the present. Though the piece thrives on spoken performance art, gestural movement is used to contribute to the on stage presence. Recounting the details of her influenced state keeps the piece light even while discussing a dark and powerful self discovery. For example, when she attempts to put on her jacket she hilariously reaches her arm through the jacket instead of into it, struggling a bit before finally giving up. These moments eased the audience into a dark narrative about her struggle with depression, and showed an effective way to present hard-to-swallow content. ilvs strauss’ desert/DESERT, was a part of the Northwest New Works Festival Showcase Four at On the Boards last weekend. The Northwest New Works Festival is a two weekend festival (June 8-10 and June 15-17) celebrating some of the best performers from the Northwest.
A visually enticing performance celebrating culture and religion, Fausto Rivera and Cheryl Delostrinos (of Au Collective), Tequila Con Miel Y Limon, explores the relationships that sustain us. The dancers begin in unison repeating a movement phrase involving grounded flat footed stomping and unique patterns of movement. Cycling through a series of upbeat songs in Spanish and English, the duet separates long enough for one person to leave and return bringing a plant on stage. Continuing to fill in the stage with plants, it becomes almost comical. With every new item brought on, the scenery becomes more of an art piece in itself. A framed picture of the Virgin Mary focuses the space, and a reappearance of her image on the costuming alludes to sacredness and importance of religion for the duo. There’s a shift in the narrative when, Delostrinos stands between three electric fans, indulging in her windblown hair and movement. Making the audience sigh in awe, Rivera releases flower petals into the wind, surrounding the pair with beauty. A projection of a sun and the dancers’ shadows create an illusion of walking into the sunset, both the movement of the dancers and their shadows breathtaking. Through Rivera and Delistrinos the audience gets an inside look at a relationship full of love and care, and through their relationship comes a reminder to value loved ones as much as any aspect of life.
Another cultural celebration of people of color, Alicia Mullikin’s, Reina, features four multicultural power house womxn, Cheryl Delostrinos, Randy Ford, Ivana Lin, and Elizabeth Sugawara. Traditional hispanic music begins as the four dance in unison, creating unity from the start. Wearing identical outfits alludes to the idea that even though the women are different they stand together as one. The smooth wave-like movements initiating from the hips and traveling through the rest of the body recalls the hip motions found in Latin dance forms. Progressing from unison to partnering, three of the women took turns picking the fourth up in various lifts. Halfway through, the music slows as the women shift into full-on queen mode. They move from one power pose to the next, walk forward in the sassiest way possible, mime holding a crown above each of their heads, and snap in to a sharp movement phrase. Reina represents the power that comes not only from women of color, but women of color that stand together and lift each other up.
Rainbow Fletcher’s, Eleven-Eleven: A High Energy Meditation On Coincidence, is a mix of dance and film that lights up the stage with its eclectic and bright costuming and makeup. The dancers move through a series of duets, trios, solos, and unison dancing as a ten person cast, done with extreme togetherness and precision. The movement patterns are repetitive and gestural, done in canons and different formations.Sometimes the variety of patterns and sequences seem so random it’s as if the choreographer decided to shake a pair of dice to decide how many people would dance at a time and how many counts after each other they would start. Perhaps coincidentally, the background video includes dice-like wooden squares being shaken and dropped to the ground. The video also includes images of the cast with different colored nail polish against a white background, completing tasks with an emphasis on connecting or coinciding with each other. Exploring the ways in which coincidence can be interpreted Eleven Eleven, comes to peace with the idea that everything happens as fate, chance, accident, or design. A bold ending to a beautifully diverse and celebratory evening. -Cassianna Diaz