CAVEAT: I have collaborated with some of the performers in the past, most notably in a 2010 Fringe show which Sara produced/directed, Danielle choreographed, and for which I wrote the text.
DESCRIPTION: Join us at the bar for five dances, each inspired by a different drink. See whiskey swirl, watch an absinthe striptease, raise a glass to marriage equality and more in a show full of booze and celebration.
“…out of wine comes truth
out of truth, the vision clears
and with vision soon appears
a grand design.
From the grand design
you can understand the world
and when you understand the world
you need a lot more wine…”
-Stephen Sondheim, The Frogs
So this show is an ass-kickingly kinetic hymn to Dionysos, my patron: the Greek god whose gifts to our species were liquor and theatre, and they haven’t been properly separated ever since. And this seems to neatly encompass both halves of his gift to us, with its equal portions of bacchanal and social comment.
I’ve been watching Sara’s work for years, and if I had to try to divine an underlying purpose, it’s one of struggling with the problem of accessibility: a desire to take her intensely specialized training, and to find a way to reveal some of its rewards to an audience that hasn’t undergone her years of study. She’s undertaken a number of experiments, from collaborating with storytellers to working on dance-oriented comedy shows; and I’m going to go ahead and rank this as one of the more successful. Which is particularly gratifying, I think, since it’s also one of the most unapologetically dance-heavy.
(One of my favorite movies is Jackie Chan’s Drunken Monkey in a Tiger’s Eye, and much of what I love about it was manifested in this show, as well: the use of an extraordinary level of grace, discipline, and control – to represent the complete loss of grace, discipline, and control.)
So much love for this (although I’d single out Danielle and Sara’s startlingly intense tribute to Argentinian Malbec as a favorite). I was a bit disappointed in that I thought it closed on a bit of a weak note: it’s a large ensemble, whose members are operating at wildly varying levels of skill. That said, I really did sort of love the fact that the show began with mournful isolation of whiskey, and ended with something as celebratory as champagne.
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