Alwin Nikolais' "Crystal and the Sphere" is visually stunning, sonically captivating and fun.
When the Ririe-Woodbury Dance Company performed the work for area elementary school children Wednesday, there were a lot of gasps, laughter and "oohs and ahhs."
So, when the company performs for the public tonight and Saturday, there's a good chance the audiences will be wowed as well.
The work was originally created in 1988 for the Kennedy Center's Imagina-
And what a work of imagination it is.
A 12-foot sphere and a 13-foot conical pyramid are focal stage points where images and abstract designs are projected.
The lighting is mostly comprised of black lights, giving the Day-Glo costumes a vibrant and electrical feel.
Backed by ambient musical doodles and orchestrations, the dancers weave and gyrate across the stage with magic show-like flair.
While the dancers create abstracts with their bodies, it's easy to interpret the figures as Martians, chess pieces, insects and bolts of lightning.
As for the not-so-abstract characters, the stage is graced with a mermaid, a snapping-jawed shark, toy soldiers and two dancing and funky chickens.
Finding the rhythm of the score proves to be a challenge in any Nikolais work, because of the ambience, but the Ririe-Woodbury Dance Company members find their grooves and even patterned dances emerge from the constant movement coming from the stage.
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