• Nick Dawes

A-WOL Dance's current performance, Zip Zap Zoom, got its concept from a story by a fifth grader; Savannah Somerville has concocted a comic book-style plot about three sisters (named Zip, Zap, and Zoom, naturally) and their fight for good and evil. The show is perfectly timed to kick off April, which has been deemed Portland's Comic Book Month. A-WOL Dance Collective incorporates aerial dance with more traditional floor-based dance for performances that encompass acrobatics, trapeze, and ribbon; the performers are in the air for more than half the show. I hadn't considered this until seeing Zip Zap Zoom last night, but aerial dance is perhaps the perfect medium for reenacting comic book action. The choreographed fights were virtually without violence, but filled with grace and gliding motion, and it felt like comic book pages coming to life—an apt comparison would be the wire work commonly used in martial arts movies, where choreographed fighting becomes a dance in and of itself.

More importantly, Zip Zap Zoom was totally fun, from beginning to end. The dancing and aerial acrobatics were all great, and the production quality was both impressive (the lighting and music operated at a very high level) and homespun, like the slides projected on a thin curtain with updates of the plot throughout the show. The story itself is standard comic book fare with double-crosses, twists, and a happily bizarre range of heroes and villains, and the costumes were memorable and recognizable. I didn't know what to expect from an aerial dance show, so let's say I was very pleasantly surprised. The show is great, and today is your only chance to see it. There's a matinee at 2 pm (hurry!) and a show at 8 pm.

A-WOL Dance, 920 NE Flanders, 2 & 8 pm, $12-15