Sunday, July 19, 2009

Naked July

Last night I was invited to do two of my favorite things at the same time 1) get naked 2) dance. Unfortunately I declined both. Ryan and I were at the National Pastime Theater in Uptown for their Naked July: Art Stripped Down event titled The Living Canvas: “Nocturne” directed by Lisa Adams. “Nocturne” was an interpretative performance danced completely in the nude. I don’t go to a lot of interpretive dance performances and I’m glad that the one I did go to happened to have lots of people sprawled about all naked like or I may have fallen asleep. Not that is was boring; I was just really really tired. The show was actually quite intriguing, though the originality came through more in the choreography and lighting than in the story-line which happened to follow the basic plot-line of the Giving Tree as well as takes from Alice in Wonderland, Where the Wild Things Are, and others. The main character shed his business attire and drifted off into a world of enchantment and captivation where twelve other humans met him in a long trippy dream.

The performance was based on emotionality rather than rationality; yet it did flow in a rather linear order as the main character grew older. The choreography was intense; I mean with T&A and B&A in your face the whole time, how could it not be? The most illuminating aspect was the lighting; they used slide projectors to cover the stage and the naked bodies with different textures, colors and shapes. It was one of those shows that could have been absolutely ridiculous, but the actors gave it their all and were completely solid throughout the performance; though you could tell which music numbers had had more practice, especially during a Tori Amos song--there were only three dancers instead of the usual 13 and it just seemed jagged and out of place compared to all the other ones, which were fluid and stream-line.

Overall the experience was beautiful and suffocating. Beautiful in the elegance of the movements to the music and suffocating in the sense that there was absolutely no air in the building. Once the lights went out I thought I was in purgatory and it didn’t help when one of the first songs was Pink Floyd’s “Welcome to the Machine” and there were naked bodies stacked up on one another like strange centaurs or hellish catholic nightmare strippers, but alas I survived the show. After the applause the main character went into some monologue about every body being beautiful, which is great in theory especially when you’re built like a Greek God like he was, but then he invited us all to get naked and dance with them to a song. I didn’t decline because I disagreed with him, I declined because I was lazy and didn’t want to take off my clothes just so I could put them on again. Perhaps that just means I am getting too old for mind-opening exploration and adventure… or perhaps my rationality has taken over my emotionality and I can’t let go on my outer-skin.

Whatever the case may be “Nocturne” at least got me thinking about balance and beauty and it turned out to be a rather enjoyable experience. I mean it’s not everyday you get to see balls and boobs dancing freely and happily to the joys of music and complimentary lighting.

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