ariel dance theater, austin, tx, texas
I never really enjoyed math. I was good at it in school, but I never truly enjoyed it. Geometry in particular bored me.
The again, I’ve never seen a geometry lesson like THE GEOMETRY OF PROXIMITY.
The dance show, presented by Ariel Dance Theatre at the Long Center through this weekend, is a remarkable piece of work in which all the elements come together to create a unique experience that is equal parts dance and performance art. It’s a thrilling, living, breathing modern art exhibit.
The 50 minute piece about how mundane, predictable, and tiresome the human existence can be is anything but. Despite the depressing concept, the material is infused with energy by performers and choreographers Andrea Ariel and Steve Ochoa. As dancers, they are skilled technicians who can couple their brilliant technique with touching, gripping emotion and pathos. As choreographers, they excel at creating compelling and interesting pictures, shapes, and scenarios. Highlights include the opening sequence in which Ariel and Ochoa stand a mere feet away from each other and are painfully unaware of the others existence as they woefully go through the ritual of examining their individual bodies for imperfections, a routine in which they fearfully extend handshakes to invisible people, and a comical number in which they have a very competitive fashion show, each one trying to one-up the other as they add more and more ridiculous pieces to their wardrobe.
In addition to the incredible talents of Ariel and Ochoa, THE GEOGRAPHY OF PROXIMITY showcases the abilities of some of Austin’s greatest artists of other mediums. The completely original musical score, composed by Graham Reynolds and performed by Reynolds and Cellist Hector Moreno, is at times subdued and melancholy, at others electric and spirited, and always compelling to the ears. Sound Engineer Eliot Haynes expertly plays with the volume of the sound, allowing certain phrases to echo against the walls of the Rollins Studio Theatre while other moments are delicately soft. The sound and variance between levels is fluid, much like the dance itself, and draws the audience in. Colin Lowry provides the piece with some stunning video pieces, displayed on three screens across the back wall, all of which play with color, shapes, and imagery. While Video Design in stage productions is often an unnecessary or distracting addition to the work, here it complements the art and is art in itself. And Jason Amato’s Lighting Design also complements the action, bathing the stage in color and shadows, at times making Ariel and Ochoa look superhuman and at others making them seem dwarfed by the space. Amato is truly a magician with light and shadow.
THE GEOMETRY OF PROXIMITY is a truly unique and haunting piece of art where everyone involved is at the top of their game. Whether you are a dance enthusiast or not, this is a show not to be missed.
Run time: 50 minutes with no intermission.
THE GEOGRAPHY OF PROXIMITY plays The Rollins Studio Theatre at The Long Center for the Performing Arts now through Sunday, September 30th.
For tickets and more information, go to www.arieldance.org.
Jeff Davis is a graduate of the UCLA School of Theater, Film, and Television where he obtained his Bachelor's Degree in Theater with an emphasis in Directing. |