As Diana Vishneva owned her monochromatic stage, start-to-finish, the audience enjoyed body gestures and gender positing often reminiscent of early Keith Haring graffiti art. Still, while the production was clearly rooted in Modernism, the 1980s homages were also clear and pronounced. This connection back to the Cold War West was, no doubt, welcomed by the audience clad in fashions harkening back to the same period, most notably the red Gucci fanny pack we saw donned proudly on a patron.
Our culture is mad about the current 1980s Renaissance, demonstrating yet another reason why Sleeping Beauty Dreams hit so many salient spots in the current cultural consciousness. One hundred years in to the Modernist experiment, Vishneva and her company of nine helped to define marking and spacing on the screen by being rooted in the discipline and the talent of the terre.
Further, the nine skirted accompaniments—the males clad in white mesh skirts and, temporarily, metallic red topics—were in league with Vishneva, making gender as fluid in time and space. Beginning, middle, and end, it was as if the technology on the screen became more and more etherical as the movements of the dancers became more concrete.
To be clear, Vishneva was the center—the one who could not be held. Her movements were so precise—so close to the form—like a metronome or a drummer, and this perfection allowed for the mid-passages of symmetrical arm movements, reminiscent of Siddhartha and Eastern dance values. In Hindu art, the moving arms represent battling cosmic forces, and the Lead gave her Miami audience precision with her arms—her weapons.
With all the elements at her disposal – earth, wind, fire, water – Vishneva was, as kitchy as it may seem to say it – the steam off the electronic dance music borne of the Bauhaus messenger – Thijs de Vlieger of Noisia. The playfulness of de Vlieger’s day job with Noisia was obvious in his musical composition for this ballet that played more like a soundtrack than a score. De Vlieger’s vision was jarring and unsettling and a pastiche of postindustrial sounds that further showcased the discipline of Vishneva’s long-limber legs and arms.
Those limbs connected so effortlessly on her own frame and were shared so generously in moments with her masculine foil, the Prince, Marcelo Gomez. Ever the striking Brazilian, also of American Ballet Theatre fame, Gomez toyed with his own gender identity and was made physically and emotionally unattainable in his unique shirt dressing, a white ‘totally 80s’ silhouette from costumer Bart Hess.
Hess’ designs put the final coat of veneer on the thin layer of a subconscious bubble that the audience was invited to navigate during the inaugural performance of Sleeping Beauty Dreams. A second show followed Saturday in preparation for the 2-night New York run from December 14-15 at the former movie palace, The Beacon Theater.