It was a night with a nearly full moon. That was probably the first sign that something was going to go wrong that night. But we chose to ignore it as we all stood lined up outside of the dance studio, waiting for someone to come down to fetch us. It wasn’t long until a young mysterious woman came down, individually selecting us in an order none of us could really comprehend. When it came to be my turn to venture up the stairs, I hesitated. It was dark with just the barest hint of candles to light my path. But I pushed myself forward and eventually was led into a room fit for a ritual. Soon it was time. Time to INVOKE.
INVOKE is a show that would best be described as performance art with immersive elements interwoven within its core. Alex Floyd of OdDancity and Bianca Crespo of Santa Mira Pictures have come together to create a show that explores the gruesome endings that come to women and how curiosity and discovery can come at the expense of losing oneself.
Our group was a quiet group as we all meandered into the room. In the case of the ritual, I can imagine how each group’s energy would come to impact the feeling and interpretation of the performance. I believe our group’s approach was far more serious than others and, as a result, it made what we were attempting to INVOKE less of a light hearted affair and something far more serious.
What I really appreciated about INVOKE is that even though it was a performance that primarily focused on dance, the immersive touches that they added within the routine helped better transition the audience from the outside world into the world of the ritual. Before we dove deep into the ritual, the three girls who served as the primary invokers taught us the movements that we would need to use on and off throughout the ceremony. The way they did this seemed natural and, as soon as the audience had a general grasp of the motions, we got to the real meat of the performance.
We got to watch each one of the three female performers be possessed by individual spirits. Each individual dance played out a scene where the spirit relieved their own deaths. Each death was different, allowing each performer to stand out as they performed at the mercy of the spirits inhabiting their bodies. Although the dancing wasn’t as clean and natural as such a up close and personal probably warranted, each dancer committed to the character they embodied as they played out their respective death scenes.
Once we realized that there was something going wrong with the final invocation, you could really see where the choreographer’s strength was in tweaking the transition that takes place as the invokers come back down from their possession. It’s the little adjustments made after the final girl starts to seize that you really start figuring out that this is not going the way that they had planned. Although the end of the performance was more on the predictable side, the whole of the performance piece was strong and had a clear story from beginning to end. For a young company just starting out and dabbling with combining dance and immersive elements, INVOKE is a very good start.
As I have said quite a bit within the past month or so, these shows are what you put into them. I went in not knowing much about the show and came out pleasantly surprised. Sometimes it’s all just a matter of shifting your perspective and taking the time to INVOKE.