‘Callings’ towers into the New Orleans Fringe Festival … Review

Binge Festival, Vol III NOLA Defender – Kelley Crawford

Callings The San-Francisco based Carpetbag Brigade, with their performance of Callings, towers into the 2012 Fringe Festival with metallic eyes and …

stilts attached to their legs. Under the direction of Jay Ruby, the five dancers/performers stand bodies above the audience with only the floats outlining the Den of Muses matching their height and presence. A black piece of fabric is hung in the background and gel lights dot the concrete floor with color, but that is the only “stage” for this performance. The sparse setting and cold stares of the dancers beg the audience to look at the performers, and only the performers, in order to absorb themselves in the liquid movements that fill this forty-five minute dance of the sea. The performers succeed in this (ahem) “calling.”
As the five dancers contort their bodies and throw themselves from inordinate heights onto the concrete slab below them, more than a few winces of fear cross the faces of the audience. As the music transforms from ambient synthesizer tones and field recordings of what sound like crustaceans to Celtic music, the dancers also alter their movements in their quest to answer questions, such as, “If the ocean was ill, how would she weep?” Without ever breaking their penetrative gazes or letting their bodies rest during the performance, these dancers give a new definition to the word “commitment.” On the opening night performance, there were a few glitches, including some unsuccessful “stunts.” But the sheer visual of dancers on stilts willing to sacrifice their bodies and their breath for their art makes Callings a worthwhile odyssey. The coolness of the Den of Muses aids in the bone-chilling presentation, and, in the end, the audience feels as if they too have been taken in by these dancing sirens.
Check out other ‘Callings’ Reviews [here]
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