Last night concluded the first round of performances in Conduit’s Dance+ Festival . I saw the show on opening night last week. It was *almost* a full house—all of us packed together in Conduit’s studio on the fourth floor, feeling the summer heat...desperately fanning ourselves with our programs.

The first round of Dance+ performances had some pleasant surprises. It went into gutsy, new territory with a piece by Paul Clay and composer Todd Barton (“Black Friday: Parking Lot Dance II”), which is an entirely digital piece (with animation by Paul Clay). It features nearly-nude, white boy clones, which worship Xboxes and do odd and unnerving cult-like dances inside a simulated Target store. You should probably just see it for yourself:

It’s impressive (we've written about Clay's work before). As for myself, I’ve never seen a visual art piece quite like it, and it’s especially interesting to see the work framed within a contemporary dance festival, when I so often think of dance as being mostly a temporal and physical art form.

The performances last Thursday ended on a really high note with “Luna,” by Anna Conner + Co. This piece is totally lovely and stunning. The three women (Anna Conner, Julia Cross, and Autumn Tselios) are decked out in white underwear that reaches their belly buttons, as well as long-sleeved, translucent lacy tops, with their hair tucked up in braids. The movements are balletic, more so than in any of the other pieces. The ladies move together in unison; they gently brush their hands along one another and brush past each other. At other times they seem to be violent towards one another—a little brutally; sometimes the movements are eerie, sometimes they’re sensuous. The tension is alive, and the movement itself is fluid and wonderful.

Luna in action.
  • Jim Lykins
  • "Luna" in action.

This is the third year of Dance+ Festival, which is packed with experimental dance. A lot of it is challenging, and some you may even throw the bullshit flag at. This is all a part of the fun, though, and part of the work itself—for you to address and evaluate these questions about form and entertainment, and talk (or complain) about it. That being said, the next round of shows begins Thursday, July 17, and runs through July 19, with the same five performers for each night. Get your tickets here!