Thursday, May 29, 2014

Mysteries of light: new work by Anne Zuerner at The Invisible Dog

from Anne Zuerner's Light House
The floor is raw; the temperature, nippy. Windows on the upper floor of this former belt factory--Brooklyn's Invisible Dog Art Center--look out on leafy branches bending to a strong evening wind. The sudden, dramatic shift in weather on Anne Zuerner's opening night cooperates more with the choreographer than with her audience, casting the trees dancing just beyond the glass as perfect backdrop to her own supple undulations.

This solo, Prelude, opens as Zuerner, flashlight in hand, rotates like the beam of a lighthouse; light travels across the space's whitewashed bricks. That would be a banal lead-up to a trio entitled Light House, except that Prelude has a bit more than that going on--including the spooky cool patch of light trained on part of Zuerner's face as she slowly pours blue-dyed water over her head, face and clothing and then repeatedly lashes her head forward and back. Later, with her long, brown hair obscuring head and neck, her body will look weirdly reversed and endlessly reversible, even amphibian. Galen Bremer's dense, engulfing soundscore, performed live, contributes to this surreal atmosphere.

Light House, Zuerner has said, "began as a simple idea: the image of a light in the darkness. In a time in my life when I was feeling overwhelmed by darkness, creating Light House was a way for me to look for sources of internal and external illumination."

The trio--danced by Erin Cairns Cella, Phoebe Rose Sandford and Zoe Rabinowitz--takes place on a smooth surface set down in the other half of Invisible Dog's floor. The dancers are first seen reclining on the floor, sliding and otherwise manipulating several fluorescent tubes (lighting design by Haejin Han) as they fold, unfold, arch and ripple in crisp, synchronized geometrics to Bremer's softly industrial, hydraulic music. Carefully coiffed and dressed alike in deep blue unitards covered by a loose skin of translucent fabric (designed by Emma Hoette), they are nearly identical, mechanical and anonymous in look and behavior. Light House seems to stretch on for the sake of making a respectable length for a major dance presentation, but I found much of it visually captivating.

Light House runs through Saturday, May 31 with performances at 8pm. For information and tickets, click here.

The Invisible Dog
51 Bergen Street (between Smith and Court Streets), Brooklyn

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