Into The Dark: A Dance Performance by Bryn Cohn & Artists
The first part of the performance was equal parts primal and graceful. Flowing effortlessly from one to the other and back again. It was weightless and heavy all at once, and the intricate partner work between the four dancers seemed to erase the physical divisions between two bodies. A surreal and supernatural world evolved around them, and darkness closed in.
It started slowly. One dancer alone on stage, and it was so quiet you had to hold your breath. She made small movements first, but then it started to build. Sharper. Harsher. Her movements were bigger, and then they weren’t again. Back to the quiet, but just when you thought that’s where it would stay her movements grew bolder, and the music swelled around her, and the descent into madness began.
Then the music shifted, and with it the themes changed. The original score, created by composer Bita Sharif, swayed between eerie and ethereal. At times it was haunting, but it was consistently beautiful. Voyeurism is the best word to describe the second part of the dance. An intense and isolating voyeurism developed between the audience and the dancers, and at times between the dancers themselves. It was during this segment that the set, designed by Bita Sharif and David Dean Ebert, was best utilized, creating a barrier between the four dancers. Two watched from behind a screen as the other pair was engaged in a tangled, carnal, and mutually manipulative performance.
This is the most ambitious venture so far for artistic director Bryn Cohn. “Into the Dark marked a tremendous milestone for us as a company—the unwavering honesty of the dancers, the dense movement vocabulary, and the collaborations have catapulted our company to a rich level of artistic progression. I am eternally grateful for these creative minds that have charged my vision with humanity, passion, and inspiration to build this comprehensive world onstage.” She says the performance was created in a highly collaborative and improvisational environment with each participant exploring “what happens when we surrender certainty to chance,” and the distance between fantasy and reality—isolation and claustrophobia—light and dark.
The piece was performed by Sebastian Arrango, Nikolas Owens, Yuliya Romanskaya, and Lauren Santos at the Center for Performance Research in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. While the technical talent and precise movements of all four dancers were impressive, it was their honest emotional connection to the piece that made it so worth experiencing
To learn more about Bryn Cohn & Artists, you can visit the group’s website. Keep an eye on these Brooklyn artists. We’re sure to see more groundbreaking performances in the future.