Fear-cloaked renditions of that autumn night.
Digging up rumors of the kids in the park.
What awful things happened in the dark?"
-- The Birthday Massacre, "Lover's End"
ShadowDance was fucking glorious. Beautiful, elegant, mysterious, awesome, decadent. I could just keep listing adjectives for a day and a half and still not run out of great things to say.
Ariellah has created something of which to be truly proud. A thing of beauty and majesty. A place of visions and nightmares gone so exquisitely wrong.
Honestly, I don't even know where to begin, because there was just so much amazing-ness crammed into those two nights. So I'll try to hit some of the highlights of each evening. If I leave someone out, I'm terribly sorry, because there was just entirely too much to remember it all clearly.
Evening One: Shadowside at the Vagabond
The performances started with an eerie set by goth-industrial band Lestat, which was a good kick-off to the evening.
Next, I finally had the pleasure of seeing Madame Deidre Anaid perform her elegantly vampiric Rhapsody. Her fan-work was especially well-done, but the whole thing was quite lovely.
And later came the Deshret Dance Company's Nihil, a piece of stark energy and brutal intensity. Not to mention the immense speed and amount of shimmy-ing that those ladies, including Ariellah herself, pulled of.
There were several other amazing performances that first night, but in addition to the ones that are a blur, I also had to leave before Act III began (sometimes things just come up), so I missed out on some other fantastic performances, for which I am truly sorry. I especially regret missing these two: Sataray's musical stylings (hopefully I'll be able to pick the album up in the near future) and Dusty Paik of Snake Church, whom I've seen just enough of to know that I adore her.
Evening Two: ShadowDance at the Oakland Metro Opera House
The night started off with a strong spiritual element, thanks to the vocal artistry of Soriah. Known for his use of Tuvic Throat Singing, Soriah brought us a haunting vision of light and darkness beyond the veil, while accompanied by a male dancer (whose name I did not catch, I'm ashamed to say) whose dancing reminded me of a combination of Native American and Samoan dances that I have seen. An exquisite combination of visual and aural input.
Darkstar brought as an homage to Winston Churchill, a piece of dancing tied into that British sense of victory in the face of adversity and stoicism in the face of very possible annihilation. A celebration of strength and beauty found in resolve.
Eerie De Scent - this piece was quite amazing. With bits of metal strapped to her body, Eerie used a portable grinder to fire sparks at dark demonic visions cast in projection behind her. It was like watching a Japanese shadow-play turned into a video game turned into some kind of grandiose visual opera. It was epic, it was powerful, and it was fantastic.
Inman and Undercrypt performed a combination monologue and dance performance - a tale of madness, envy, and vicious murder. A story relating how we can never escape the things we've done and that the murderer's toll may be worse than that of her victim.
The Lady Fred brought us a charming and sexy dance interpretation of Webber's Phantom of the Opera. Elegant and lovely, the Lady Fred was a soft vision of illusions shed to reveal the darkness beneath.
Finally, came Rachel Brice. Her piece was the top of the show, if I have to draw any kind of comparison. An image of black-clad shadow, we were treated to a shedding of veils to expose the beauty beneath - only to finally have revealed to us a lovely skull-painted face and a dance of death, where, instead of a sword, this lady balanced a scythe upon her head and twirled to that elegant dark music, heavy with the drum-beat of death, like a fading heart gasping through its last throes. Such a wondrous nightmare vision.
So, now that I've bragged about all the awesome I saw this weekend, allow me to brag about the awesome for next weekend: Le Bal des Vampires will be happening at the Alameda Elks Lodge. It looks like tickets are still for sale! So if you want to dance with the (un)dead, you should get a move on - because they won't be selling tickets at the door!