Shattered Illusions

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When I went to the Columbia Theatre on Sunday night, I had high expectations for the RIOULT Dance NY Company’s performance. Since coming to Southeastern, I have been to a few performances at the Columbia Theatre including the Julie Fowlis concert.

My interest in the show grew progressively in the beginning and by the end of the first performance they had me completely enthralled.

Their use of lighting and back drops were influential throughout the night. For example, when the show opened with multicolored lighting, the dancers on stage appeared distorted like desert mirages. This combined with their sporadic dancing gave the show an eerie quality early on. The movements were concise, and at times, the large number of performers would appear to just be a tangle of limbs.

The company’s performance was intricately designed, containing fluidity within each piece that when paired with the music furthered the audiences’ interpretational experience.

In the next piece the four remaining performers coupled off, resulting in rising sexual tension. While one couple was portrayed as intimate, it seemed that the other was stationed to be the opposing force, pulling the characters apart until they pulled themselves back together.

Once they were joined, more dancers swarmed the stage and executed lifts with movements that showcased their supreme leg strength. The two strong couples continued to oppose one another. A love story of sorts had been depicted so far. However, in the next number that portrayal was abandoned. 

Opening with heavy smoke and a darker tone of music, the entire troupe stumbled across the stage in a uniform mass. They wore ragged clothes, promptly alerting you that a more sinister piece was about to unfold. Bodies jumped out at intervals, executing leading sequences before molding back into the group. 

As the music picked up in tempo, the movements melded into a fanatical sequence. Violence increased with head banging and on-stage murders. Pushing, stumbling in circles was perfectly choreographed chaos, where movements twisted in vulgarity. In the end every performer lined up and one by one fell to the ground, presumably dead.

The next piece was much lighter with only four performers, whose movements turned hectic with the increased tempo.

In the next set, an increased number of lifts was a beautiful compilation of movements as dancers used the stage’s space fully and with more tender interactions.

In the finale each dancer would have the spotlight and perform their own mini solo. As the tempo rose, the dancers began to break formation and were leaping, swirling and being lifted within hair lengths of one another in a fantastic final display of talent.

As a whole I was very pleased with the show and would have certainly seen it with my grandparents, who I go to many shows with, had it been possible. However, I would not recommend that people who are unfamiliar with the arts go to watch it, as there was a lot of open interpretation throughout it.