Sunday, June 13, 2010

Inbal Pinto Dance Company's "Oyster" and Why I Like Wandering

Tonight I went to my second Spoleto event. I was excited the moment I'd heard about this one, so the fact that I was able to see it really delighted me. It was Oyster - a dance production put on by the Inbal Pinto and Avshalom Pollak Dance Company. In all of the summaries I'd read, it was to be a theatrical dance production loosely based on Tim Burton's short story, The Melancholy Death of Oyster Boy. But apparently Avshalom Pollak says that's not true. I will tell you my thoughts on this in a minute. But first let me tell you what I thought.

I am not super good at interpreting artsy things - I just know what I like and what I don't like. So, that being said, the "storyline" of this was, in some places, very difficult for me to follow. I'm thinking it didn't have a fast and sure storyline, but every now and then I'd pick up on something symbolic or some little part of a story. Even though I'm not a genius and probably missed a bunch of stuff, I LOVED this show. It was really fantastic. The costuming was amazing and in general, the thought put into the visual aspects, though they were mostly minimal, just blew me away. There were two particular parts of the show that gave me goosebumps. My absolute favorite was a dance with the dancers in tuxedos that had their arms sewn in, so as to appear that they were armless. I would love to show you a video of it, but taping was prohibited and there's nothing online that shows the dance with the actual music that runs with it in the production.

The music choices for the show were interesting, but they all did fit perfectly. At times, I felt like I was in a Woody Allen film, but then other times I got the Danny Elfman feeling. The music was all very emotionally charged in the way it matched up with the dance - it was chosen to create a specific feeling and mood, and it worked perfectly.

The dancers impressed me to no end. I always find classic ballet kind of boring. Yes it's beautiful, and yes those dancers have skill. But in ballet, most poses and movements are very fluid - they flow perfectly linear with the body's structure and natural muscle movement. I don't think ballet dancers are talentless - what they do is difficult and takes practice. But I was impressed by the dancers in Oyster because many of the movements they made were not natural to the human body. They were pushing the limits of their bodies and bending to create shapes that do not typically occur while doing it all through atypical movements. Aside from being amazingly fun to watch, it makes me admire them greatly for the control they are able to execute over their own bodies. I can't imagine the practice hours they put in.

Now about the Tim Burton issue. I would have to say that I don't know if I necessarily could separate this from something inspired by Tim Burton's work. It is the automatic parallel I would've drawn even if I had not read that that was the case. The characters possess a strange, dark beauty that is very akin to the characters that Tim Burton dreams up. The costuming was very much in the manner of Tim Burton as well - eccentric and exaggerated. I got a major Burton vibe the entire way through - it was dark and eerie, but in a comforting way - the same comfort I feel when I watch Nightmare Before Christmas, for example. But I also see the circus/carnival inspiration that has been brought up in some places. I can't say what thoughts went into creating this production, but I can say it was very well done, and something everyone should see if they get the chance. It was fairly short - only one hour - and there were only 11 dancers in the production. Worthwhile and very impressive.

You can see some photos and a video here and you can read City Paper's review of the show, which gives some details about the various characters and dances, over here.

I enjoyed the short stroll to my car after the show - when I'm wearing heels, I like to hear the sound echo off the buildings. Walking downtown on summer nights is among my favorite experiences. It's another comfort to me. It's balmy and there's sometimes a light breeze going. I like seeing people walking down King Street and making up little thoughts about where they were and where they're going. I'm in love with the glow of the lights and the passing cars. I used to do this in New York, too. I'd walk St. Marks Place and the blocks around Astor Place station late at night. It made me feel safe. I enjoyed the solitude, but at the same time, I felt very connected to everything going on around me. I've been missing New York a lot lately - my time there was a very happy one - so I think walking in Charleston at night is sort of my trying to get back something I can't have. But so far, it's filling the void, and it's a little pleasure I like to enjoy every now and then.

Not much else has been going on. My medicine has not been effective in preventing my headaches, so this week, my doctor changed my dosage to triple what it was before. I still have headaches and I'm just so tired. The medicine wipes me out and I sleep for an average 15 hours a day, which is ridiculous. I want my energy back! So I hope this all subsides very soon. Today so far I've been awake for 12 straight hours, so I guess that's a good start. If I start feeling better, I might get the chance to make a go of this roller derby thing! So let's hope things clear up.

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