Indelible Dance Company

 “There Will Be Cake; A brand new, wedding themed ballet”
November 9, 2012 at the Williamsburg Art & Historical Center, Brooklyn

The well-tuned stomach of a ballerina, set against the backdrop of a white canvas, is at once subtle (where does skin end? wall begin?) and arresting. Indelible Dance Company and Artistic Director Robin Cantrell have a heightened awareness of what is aesthetic appealing, and their show this past weekend, “There will be Cake; A brand new, wedding themed ballet,” was as visually delicious as the cake that was served during intermission truly was.

I’m guessing the cake was delicious, actually. Looking at all of the smooth stomachs onstage (beautiful costumes by Anna Love often eschew fabric when it comes to the midriff) put me off my desire to eat for the moment. That, and the fact that the dancers had just shoved their faces in the dessert. More on that later. First, the wedding.

This “themed ballet” addresses, through dance, many aspects of a wedding including; “Procession,” “Cake!,” “Always a Bridesmaid,” and “Last Call.” These flippant titles are paired with literal interpretations – the dancers really do walk down the aisle, two by two in "Procession"and as mentioned before, cake(!) is served piece if the same title- but the sections also highlight the great physical capabilities of the dancers and are infused with comedy in such a way that the audience is at once impressed, for example by an unwaveringly high developpe, and unarmed, like when Cantrell pulls a dramatically hilarious face in response to her partners oncoming slow-motion attack. “Cake” begins with a duet in unison but by the end of the piece the two dancers are smearing icing on themselves, simultaneously dancing fiercely and with a quick smirk every now and again acknowledging the absurdity of their sugar-embalmed bodies.

In slow motion and at high speeds, the dancers of Indelible Dance Company compose themselves with the high-strung grace of ballerinas. Each step is an entrance; each gesture a story in itself. Impressing each movement with great purpose makes every moment a fleeting picture. The beauty of the dance finds a great partner in Anna Love’s costumes, which are often light sandstone in color and fill in the gap between the starkness of the white walls and the flesh tones of skin. Walls, skin, clothing: the three merge into one seamless image. One piece's costumes (I don’t remember the title) diverges from the elegant simplicity other costumes in the performance. They are a complicated amalgamation of light effects and extravagance. A female dancer wears a skirt that might well have been fashioned out of a parachute, and which extends to the walls above the audiences heads when it is pulled upwards by ropes attached to its edges. Once the parachute skirt is raised, the dancer's torso disappears and instead we see just legs and underwear. The legs are muscular and crisply specific as they pointe and extend. The underwear is emblazoned with LED lights that glow harshly. This costume comes from a distinct point of view, and one assumes that the choreographer and costume designer were aligned in their aesthetic desires to create such an extravagant piece, but the two art forms clash in this instance. 

Find yourself of Indelible Dance Company's website and find yourself on a page thick with photoshoots celebrating the form of the body. "There will be Cake" was at its strongest when the dancing might as well have been posing for the camera. The choreography was initially strong, with interesting use of costumes as prop and a playfulness with timing, however group pieces later in the evening were reliant on using one dancer as counterpoint to dancers in unison. This weakness is forgotten, however, when the parachute-skirt lifts above your head, or the muscled torso twists to accept a bite of white-frostinged cake. Indelible Dance Company is at its core a dance company, but is most sumptuous when collaborating with other artists. 

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