Saturday, February 01, 2014

Dancing In The Dark

Dancing in light suits may be gimmicky, but it's a really cool-looking gimmick, now on display in iLuminate at New World Stages.
Photo credit: Carol Rosegg
The show, seen previously in New York under the title Artist of Light and featured on America's Got Talent, does well to combine different styles of dance, including hip hop, Latin, and lyrical, but the shoehorned story is unnecessary and sometimes hard to follow. It is about Jacob, a young artist who takes comfort in his magical paintbrush that grants him the power to bring the characters of his paintings to life. A jealous townsperson steals the paintbrush and turns his creations into monsters. I got some of that from the show, but a lot of it from the press release. It would have been just as effective if each scene was a story in itself without a through line. I also wonder if the suits (designed by John "JRock" Nelson, Grace Eddy, and Marcus Allan Cobb) keep the choreography by Miral Kotb, Nelson, Dario Mejia, Cobb, and Robert Vail from being as complicated as it could be and from letting the dancers show off their full potential. It is a shame to not be able to see the dancers' faces. But the tradeoff is the awesome tricks of light, such as robots seemingly being assembled in front of our eyes and body parts moving on their own.

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