Flame and shadow, sacred geometry, and brilliant fun are on a tour with Art in Darkness by Luma Theater this spring. A creative combination of skilled performers and instruments of light create spectacular illusions reminiscent of organic forms, the Northern Lights, shooting stars, screen savers and fireflies. The high-tech and innovative performance art light show will hit select U.S. cities through May 2, 2014.
The show plays on the inherent fascination with light all humans and many animals seem to have. Giant squids glow through the air with bioluminescence, transforming the stage into the deep sea. Patterns take shape and fall away again; a face, a man, the tree of life. Hula hoops cascade like waterfalls. Waving lights simulate an EKG machine and provoke emotion with the beats of a heart. These are just a few of the 25 pieces which are woven together to create the performance art. Each piece is fairly short but maintains a fluid theme.
If the performance appears effortless and simple at first, this is just part of the illusion. Leaping, spinning, and making all moves on cue, the performers are dancing through the darkness with a heightened sense, as the visible illusion which covers their steps relies on their accuracy. The tour of dancing lights captivates audiences, entertaining them with art and beauty while simultaneously stimulating their instinct to stare at anything brilliant in the darkness.
Art in Darkness opened April 3 at the Higley Center in Gilbert, Arizona. Led by a former professional juggler Michael Marlin, seven talented female dancers, gymnasts, and performance art illuminated the dark stage in a suburb of Phoenix. Upcoming performances will be held in Santa Fe, New Mexico; Chippewa Falls, Wisconsin; Madison, Wisconsin; Schaumberg, Illinois; Roanoke, Virginia; Storrs, Connecticut, and Worchester Masachusetts.
This tour through the United States is something of a return home for the group, who have just completed long engagements abroad. They most recently spent a month performing in Madrid, Spain, and according to creator and artistic director Marlin, they have plans to travel to Brazil in the near future for the 2014 World Cup events. In the 15 year history of Luma Theater the company has visited 15 different countries including Scotland, Italy, and Japan, and toured the United States from California to Florida.
On April 12 Luma Theater will return to Madison, Wisconsin for a highly anticipated performance at the Barrymore Theater. They last performed in Madison at the Overture Center in this month two years ago to a nearly sold-out house, and audiences have been awaiting their return since. Performances at the Barrymore in Madison will include a 2pm matinee as well as the 7:30pm feature performance.
Several critics who have reviewed the performance art show are reduced to using references to what it is not, pointing out that it is not a dance performance, nor acrobatic, it is not particularly musical or about juggling. A unique tour like Art in Darkness is best described for its brilliant and abstract performance of light, and as comical entertainment for the whole family.
By Mimi Mudd