Tia Nina’s Juiced rocked the Dance Theatre at The Clarice for a solid hour on Saturday, February 7, 2015. This trio of fearless performers, Leah Curran Moon as J Van Stone, Ilana Silverstein as Sammy Rain, and Lisi Stoessel as Sticks, delivered another inventive, dance-theatre interpretation of a rock concert experience, this time utilizing a dynamite lighting design by Brittany Shemuga, character-establishing and visually exciting costume design by Katy Kincade and Tia Nina, and a dynamic soundtrack by Michael Moon, Jerry Becker, Eric Shimelonis, Led Zeppelin, Nicolas Laget, Troy Herion, and Tia Nina.
The program, comprised of a series of vignettes, flows with a natural ease, almost as if choreographed as one piece. Curran Moon, Silverstein, and Stoessel are to be commended, not only for their supremely athletic stamina, but also for their rock solid commitment to their characters. At no point do these performers drop character, during this hour long marathon of dance theatre, and if anything, they up their investment in the work as time goes by, completely astounding their audience and deepening their investment in the progression of the concert.
Cornerstones of the work that stuck out to my eyes were a fondness for repetition and cannon, but not in a totally traditional sense. Every so often one dancer will break from the traditional cannon or repetition, in a smart and calculated way, establishing the choreographic eyes of these tour-de-force performers. There is a physical abandon to the work that allows for each of their individual gifts as dancers to shine, such as brief moments of leg extension, particular leaps through the air, rolls to the ground, etc. There is also a great fearlessness in their use of the human body, such as playing an artists leg as a guitar, fondling oneself, or distorting the body in some way. These expressions are not only interesting in the context of the performance, but also freeing to watch onstage. The audience is able to live vicariously through these rock stars, what with the palpable sense of liberation.
Vignettes that stole the show for me were the intensely athletic and dynamic HALFTIME and JUICED, which opened and closed the show respectively. The energy in the sound scores of these works brought the audience into the experience headfirst, literally, as I caught many members of the packed audience bobbing along to the sound score with the dancers, as I was as well.
The flashing projections upstage, going from the JUICED logo, to a vibrant white light, went in time to the music perfectly, highlighting the jumping sequences of Curran Moon, Silverstein, and Stoessel. With JUICED, I was in awe of their ability to jump around with even more vigor than at the top of the show, was well as catch each other in risky lifts, help each other through acrobatic partnering, and leap from stage right to stage left with such exuberance, being the closing number of a seriously athletic performance.
Another wonderful vignette in the performance was COVER: RITE OF SPRING, which was a beautifully composed, and astutely adapted cover of Pina Bausch’s piece, Rite of Spring. This piece stayed true to Tia Nina’s aesthetic and choreographic strengths, while honoring and elevating the beautiful art of an established and lauded modern dance priestess.
Running Time: One hour, without an intermission.
JUICED was performed for one night only on January 7, 2015, free of charge to the public at The Clarice – University Boulevard and Stadium Park Drive, College Park, MD. For more information on other performances at The Clarice, check out their website. I would not be surprised if the savvy modern dance rock band Tia Nina has other audience enticing performances up their sleeves, so be sure to check their website for more head-banging, dance in your seat rock concerts!