"US VS. THEM" by Indelible Dance
Despite feeling exhausted from a long work week, I felt excited to see US VS THEM. Already there was a line up into the very Brooklyn industrial stairwell. Upon entering, there were three huge staging areas with bleachers on both sides, options of chairs and floor seating, as well as red and blue banners crisscrossing overhead, a nice touch that helped fill the immense concrete space.
After picking up my ticket, I was assigned to the blue time through a random card draw (hat tip to Merce), despite knowing my friend was on the red team. However it was all in good fun, plus I found out I had another friend I had not known was performing on the blue team! Practically speaking, splitting the audience randomly helped to even out the seating to both sides, but it also served to add to the competition theme of the night.
As the show started, we were told to both cheer and boo according to whether our team was winning or losing. I personally couldn't bring myself to boo because I was loving everything and old habits die hard, but there was an enthusiasm in the crowd in getting to do something so taboo at a dance show. And the dancers definitely reacted with gusto to cheers and jeers!
The dances took place in three different areas, and the audience was encouraged to move for each section. I have to say it can be difficult to encourage a seated audience to move, but this was one of the most eager audiences I've seen yet. Possibly a combination of a Brooklyn audience and immersive styles for shows becoming more common were factors, but I genuinely believe that the energy the dancers put forth and the excitement for the next piece encouraged the audience to move about the space!
A few favorites (potential spoilers if you're attending tonight):
- Battle Royale: Two wacky inflatable tube men fight it out to 2001 A Space Odessy (you know the song).
- Chase Johnsey performed a pointe piece that would make Alastair uncomfortable, but that I and the audience loved; had humor to start, elegant lines throughout, and a touching finish.
- In the Ring was performed wonderfully by duets of dancers, a standout being the meticulously crafted slow-mo fight between Mira Cook & Sean Scantlebury.
- Dealer's Choice was a fun take on card game competitions, and the gestural chair movements were intricate and unique-all the more impressive because chair movement can often become very rote.
- Wondeful half-time music with the energetic Unigen (Luke Folger).
- Pumped included some fun group movement with honest-to-god slip n' slides.
- A finale that I don't want to spoil, because there is one more night for this show, and you should go! But it was exactly the right finish to the night bringing back the competitive spirit, the humor, and the slow motion movement!
- All of the dancers I spoke with were extremely excited about performing this work. If you can get dancers excited about dancing on a concrete floor for a week in November, you must be doing something right! Kudos to Robin Cantrell!
Overall I came to the show drained and exhausted and left feeling energized and inspired! I can't wait for Indelible's next show, especially if it has this much attention to detail, humorous exchanges, and excellent crafting. Truly #winning.
One last night to see US VS THEM! Ticket link below: