posted by laura becker
my favorite thing about TBA so far is the first few minutes of locust: convenience when amy o’neal and zeke keeble made music with velcro on the bottom of their shoes. at first, in the dark and crowded studio, i had no idea WHAT that sound was.
i assumed they were making silent movements to recorded sound. then i heard giggles and chuckles around me and finally i realized. the music for the entire piece was just like that – fun, impressive, and surprising. zeke keeble sat on a hollow box that was miked and made monstrous drum beats which he looped through his pedals. then he whistled over the beats he just recorded and looped that. then he whistled IN HARMONY to the whistling he just whistled and looped that. then he beat boxed over the whistles. and looping and layering, etc…
as amy and zeke tap danced with velcro, one screen behind them showed a girl listening to headphones, slouching on the sofa, and bursting around the room. it dawned on me that this scene could actually be happening live, somewhere close by, and sure enough that was the case. soon she and two other male dancers appeared on stage. then, throughout the piece, the other screen showed pre-recorded scenes of the dancers on the street, faux commercials for the products “pocket warrior” and “enough of that” (spelling?), a hilarious skit of four of the dancers helping the fifth one, in a semi-conscious state, cook an egg and eat it, and shots of each dancer inside a box. the most satisfying part of the performance for me was near the end when all five dancers were on stage, in a line, each on their own square of red shag carpet and in front of their own square of spotlight, dancing in unison.
the program lists the dancers as “Performers/Movement Collaborators” which is actually very accurate. They weren’t just dancing, they were acting in videos behind them and with their charming face expressions and attitude on stage. so much of the same vocabulary of contemporary dance movement from tiffany mills was repeated by locust, but last night it was free and bold, tongue-in-cheek, and mainly just fun.
after the applause died down the performers stayed on stage so amy could introduce each one. she also thanked PICA, exclaiming “we’re so spoiled here!” because of the amount of crew and staff ready to help them when they arrived – just as the audience was treated to a convenient surprise, so was she.