“The Bowie Project,” the brainchild of Austin-based choreographer Andrea Ariel, whose other credits include the choreography for the film Waiting for Guffman and a three-part dance-theatre series on the floating garbage patch in the North Pacific Gyre, was an exercise in personae, layering, fragmenting, and improvisation. The performance, which incorporated three dancers, the David Bowie tribute band Super Creeps, and three members of New York’s Strike Anywhere Performance Ensemble, utilized Soundpainting, a “composing sign language” invented by musician Walter Thompson. Working with Thompson, Ariel adapted and expanded the vocabulary of music-focused conducting gestures—they look a bit like the gestures one makes during a game of charades—for dance and performance. Through Soundpainting with a bank of Bowie songs, text from his interviews, and movement sequences within a predetermined arc, the show facilitated an engagingly disorienting dive into the most outwardly colorful period of Bowie’s life and work: the 1970s.
One would think that a dance inspired by the events of the January 6 insurrection—yes, a dance!—would not be the ideal stuff of theater, but the eight members of Laurie Sefton Creates (formerly Clairobscur Dance Company), succeeded in giving life to Sefton’s premiere “Herd. Person?”, while the dance, itself, was occasionally problematic.Plus