The following review is courtesy of Vanessa Voskuil, Co-Founder of Live Action Set
Daylight (for Minneapolis)’s ambitious pre-show performance installation conceived by Sarah Michelson takes on large painted portraits of current Walker staff, strategically placed young girls in opaque dance wear, and decorative architecture of interlaced circles. Throughout the building is one or a series of girls who are starring either towards a corner of the building or out a window. The observer is immediately drawn to where they are looking allowing her/his self to address the Walker through the performers viewpoint. The choreography is very specific and repetitive with one foot stepping in front and back of the other while hands move back and forth on the upper thighs. You leave the experience with the sense that the performers are lost and disparate in relationship to the larger portraits of Walker curators.
Michelson’s main stage choreography reads as repetitive, stark, and structurally complex much like the architecture of the Walker. The straight-faced dancers make strong, angular, and sweeping gestures with their legs and arms. An intention becomes apparent with the specifics of what is revealed and what is hidden. This is appropriately accentuated by the lighting design that blazes on and off, like the sun, redirecting the audience’s attention above, behind, or within the shallowly raked seating area which is built on the actual stage itself. Interestingly enough, Michelson chose to limit her performance space enclosing and possibly compensating her large movement when the Walker worked so intently to increase the size of the previous performance space. With no programs in hand to guide the experience until after the performance, there is a sense of disorientation and frustration made obvious by audience members trying to stand up from their corralled seats to see behind themselves followed by a premature mass exodus before a final solo performed in the dark. Obviously the dancers are not the only ones performing here.
Ivenson’s sound score, performed by a hidden band, blasts various musical genres, one after another, progressing from pop to profane rap offset by small moments of silence allowing the audience to see their clear technique and hear the breath and effort of the dancers as they spin across the floor, wave their arms faintly above their heads, kick a high leg, and at times pause for long moments while they change their reflective focus. The women are dressed sensationally in gold jewelry and evening wear while the men wear button down shirts that become increasingly wet as the dance progresses. In finale, a dancer asks, “ Roger, have you been swimming? Well? It is fine if you have.” – a self-referential comment stemming from a style of humor that is introduced with the surprising tormented Mickey Mouse appearance in the last half of the performance.