Newspaper article Sarasota Herald Tribune

Synthesis Offers Sensory Experience

Newspaper article Sarasota Herald Tribune

Synthesis Offers Sensory Experience

Article excerpt

My 20-something son is a child of the new media age, shirking from silence and happiest watching an action movie, listening to jazz and posting on Facebook simultaneously.

I, alas, am of an older vintage. I prefer my reading on the printed page, my television on PBS and my music filtered. So I approached the performance of "Particular," by Lostwax Multimedia Dance, the second entry in the Ringling's NowHERE contemporary stage series, with wary apprehension.

Described in the program as a "synthesis of dancers' bodies and new media technology," the work -- a collaboration between choreographer Jamie Jewett and computer whiz R. Luke Dubois -- intends to seamlessly meld live dance, recorded and improvised video and a Foley stage worth of unusual sounds into one big happy whole. The mere thought of it was enough to intimidate me.

So my reaction was somewhat of a surprise. Though unsustained for the full hour, I experienced multiple moments when sound, sight and movement became so integrated that my normally segregated senses became confused.

Was I watching the sound or hearing the dance? Looking at human bodies or graphic helixes? Listening to movement or seeing noise? Halfway through I figured I was either in an altered state or had been hypnotized by sensory overload.

There are five dancers, four women -- Ali Kenner Brodsky, Amanda Del Prete, Kim Johnson and Betsy Miller -- and one beefy guy (Alexander Drapinski) of diverse body type and height (and, from the looks of it, dance backgrounds too). They explore in movement and gesture the multiple meanings of the word "particular" -- individual, odd, exceptional, separate -- as well as their connection to the group. (Jewett has said the impetus for the piece was video of a "murmur" of starlings, a natural phenomenon in which thousands of birds swoop and swell across the sky.)

On a bare stage, in simple gray costumes accented with haphazard squiggles of blue thread that matched the computer graphics, they dance in front of continually changing computer images, improvisationally generated by Dubois during the show. …

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