What Do We Miss When We Blink? A Review of Lostwax’s “Blinking.” ~ Greg Eckard
An ethereal, innovative performance, “Blinking” stimulates the eyes, ears, and mind.
The average person blinks once every six seconds. Though each blink is momentary, if strung together these moments of darkness make up a substantial portion of our lives. It is from this mystery that the Lostwax dance company draws its inspiration for the production “Blinking,” the brainchild of choreographer Jamie Jewett and composer Luke Dubois.
It was an intriguing premise that drew a packed crowd at CU’s Black Box Theater for its only Boulder showing on January 21st. Projected upon a large screen while the audience assembled was an oddly hypnotic video of a pier on a large body of water. A red-haired woman meandered on the pier, gazing off into the water while pedestrians passed by. Ambient electronic music played in the background.
Some viewers were drawn by the music while others were intrigued by the unique premise, as well as Lostwax’s reputation for fusing various forms of media.
The performance wove together experimental music, modern dance and video projections. Though lacking a traditional narrative, the video projections followed the red-haired woman through a number of seemingly mundane events in her daily life. Six dancers delivered a graceful and athletic performance. Geometric, digital imagery was juxtaposed with the organic nature of the dancing.
The idea of the momentary or discrete versus the continuous seemed to be a recurring theme. At times the dancers were completely independent, while at others they held onto or lifted one another, dancing as a single organism.
Perhaps the most interesting aspect of the performance was the way in which the separate components (music, video, and dance) were integrated. The music, for instance, was timed to coordinate with the red-haired woman’s blinking.
The dancers also manipulated a circular canvas screen which caught portions of the projections, blurring the line between what was happening on the video and the performance of the dancers. At times, the monitor projected a digitally altered version of the current dance on the screen.
During the climactic sequence, the projection showed the red-haired woman asleep while one of the dancers lay on a representation of a bed; another dancer, presumably a figment of her dreams, awakens the sleeper and the two enact an ethereal sequence.
The audience enjoyed the performance, particularly the sensory elements. The effort to incorporate the different elements of the performance was also appreciated. While some found the link between the premise of blinking and the dance too abstract, the performance no doubt had the audience thinking and talking. It was a visually stunning, mesmerizing piece replete with all the mystery and haunting allure of a dream.
Greg Eckard is an editorial intern at elephant journal. He studied History at Occidental College. He plays keyboards for Shiftybox, a local band, and has been a music enthusiast from a young age. Also an aquarist and amateur magician, he has lived in Boulder for three years.