SHOW TITLE: Dance with the Devil
PRODUCER: Erin Sheppard Presents
HAILING FROM: Minneapolis
SHOW DESCRIPTION: Through dance and storytelling, Dance with the Devil toys with soul selling, collecting, and attempting to outsmart the master of tricksters. When you want something badly enough, you’ll do anything to get it.
The dance-storytelling hybrid that this company has made their bread and butter seems to be an emerging genre: enough so that I did one myself a few years back. Our initial exchange went something like this:
DANCER: So, you’ll do some storytelling, and we’ll do some dance!
ME: So – your marketing plan is to take an unmarketable genre, and hitch it to another unmarketable genre?
DANCER: (looking slightly hurt) …no…
…because, y’know, I’m a douchebag. Nevertheless, these guys have made it work for them. I’ve reviewed one of their shows before – Tainted Love at the Horror Festival – and actually found this to be a much stronger hour.
Why? While, the last show of theirs that I saw had some particularly dense storytelling, and some light, expansive, crowd-pleasing dance. This seemed to be almost the exact reverse – some generally lighter storytelling with some surprisingly dark movement sequences, and somehow this mixture was way more effective for me.
I don’t mean to be dismissive of the storyteller, who does an admirable job – but for the most part, her central joke is the grand, overbearing notion of sin, contrasted with the relatively lame sins that she actually committed in her youth. (The one notable exception to this is her discussion of her family’s struggle with addiction, which is some legitimately heavy stuff.) She’s appealing, and her stories are clever and well-written.
In contrast, the dance sequences were surprisingly dark, particularly in contrast to the more crowd-pleasing ensemble dances that I remember from their last show. Dark, but not heavy, which sounds bizarre, considering that, like, I sat through a scene where a man strangled a woman to death. But the overall aesthetic was so goddamn upbeat that it just doesn’t feel so oppressive, y’know?
The overall effect was salt and sugar – mostly confectionary, but with a sharp little kick to it.
Questions? Comments? Enraged invective? Check out my answers to occasionally asked questions in Notes on Notes, or the contact info linked from that page!