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AUDIENCE REVIEW: ChrisMastersDance in "Masoleum" (Review 4)

ChrisMastersDance in "Masoleum" (Review 4)


Performance Date:
June 2, 2023

Freeform Review:

Modern dance has always been a hit or miss for me. I have to be in the right mood, half the time I'm thinking of office work, etc. At best, I had an enjoyable couple of hours and didn't regret going to the performance.

Full disclosure: I do know people involved in the performance. This is the main reason why I went. I knew I was in for an interesting experience, but I didn't realize how sucked in I'd be.

As everyone sits down, we're treated to a camera facing... us, with us being able to see everything. As one who doesn't like looking in the mirror for too long, I felt uncomfortable, which was the whole point. The camera was asking us to people watch, to focus our minds, to start conversations. Or maybe it was just setting us up for what was to come. The camera sees everything, and we had to make a decision as to if we were going to pay attention.

And don't forget the Witness (?) Watcher (?) Cameraperson with a cool outfit (?) I was told to watch out for a surprise before the dancers entered, and while I've seen this kind of thing before, it still made me jump a bit.

Lights go down, and here's where I fell into that "enjoyable experience" I was expecting. For all of maybe 5 or 10 minutes. As the dancers face the camera individually for extreme closeups, I felt uncomfortable again, this time because I was seeing the microexpressions on their faces, and I don't know them - it was voyerism on the most intimate scale. They were inviting me to follow their lives, and I wasn't sure I was ready. Which didn't matter, since they were going to show me anyway.

Everyone I've talked to about this performance has had a different interpretation, which makes sense. Dance is to the audience as a major event is to those who lived through it — we all saw the same thing, but we all have different histories, so no two accounts can be absolutely identical. I won't be able to convey exactly what I felt. I remembered how I went out clubbing and barhopping in my 20's and had the best time. But even while I was out, I was realizing that I can't do this forever. I would retreat for a while, when fear of missing out kicked in, and I went back. Then I got older, my body starting betraying me (I ain't 25 amymore), and I knew it was time to stop, though I'm still out almost every night.

To some, this may be a naive interpretation, and others are nodding their heads in agreement. The story as I saw it was so engaging and real (that's such an abstract word...) that I was tearing up by the end. And I wasn't the only one. As the lights came up with no acknowledgement of the dancers' work, I knew the performance was over, but I was in no mood to get up right away. I had to absorb what I just saw.

I talked about the performance of the dancers, but there was one other performer who enters and exits but follows everyone at one point or another — the Witness. Holding the camera to either show the stage in a different angle or chasing dancers as they go off to regroup (you're not getting away THAT easily), the Witness tells us that there is more than meets the eye. Why is someone breaking away from the group? Do they want to be alone or do they want someone to follow them? Here we had no choice but to watch, even if only peripherally, their private moments.

I'm not even touching on the rest of the visual and aural stimuli that added to the experience, but I went into this as blind as possible, and I've already said too much! I loved the soundtrack, I loved the trippy projections near the end of the event, I loved that the dancers were openly showing their exhaustion, I even loved the discomfort. This was an amazing event.


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