Maria Kong: Open Source

Dates and Venue March 5 at 8pm, March 6 at 7.30pm & March 7 at 8pm, 2016 | Norman & Annette Rothstein Theatre

Performers Anderson Braz, Artour Astman, Amit Tine, Asami Ida, Ori Ben-Shabat Choreography Talia Landa & Maria Kong Original Music/Sound Tal Ben-Ari Lighting Design Shacher Werechson

Reviewer John Jane

Maria Kong is actually an international dance collective assembled from Israel, Brasil, Russia and Japan, but none of the dancers or choreographers are actually called Maria Kong.

Open Source is a stunningly sexualized non-linear dance work by Talia Landa that takes the audience on a sixty-minute journey through a virtual world ordered by a mysterious wizard known as the “Gamer” who wears wireless digital gloves that control the dancers’ movements.

Part dance, part theatre, Open Source is evocative of love, passion and fear of outside forces that has elements of martial art and phantasmagoria. The narrative driven by curiosity and self-discovery, is conveyed equally through characterization and visually striking dance syntax.

Five athletic dancers, two women and three men are each assigned a role that expands and contracts as required through Landa’s complex choreography. Amit Tine and Anderson Braz are exceptional as the “bride and groom” whose wedding night exists only as a sensory experience. The über-flexible Asami Ida from Japan is absolutely compelling both in solo and group format, interpreting movement with every sinew.

Tal Ben-Ari’s mesmerizing score and Shacher Werechson’s dramatic lighting create a sensuous choreographic framework that offers a surreal experience for both audience and performer. Ben-Ari’s original compositions and arrangements run the musical gambit from industrial to flamenco with passing acknowledgements to “The Sound of Music.” Particularly poignant, is the afro-jazz fusion song performed by vocalist and guitarist that accompanies the beautifully erotic closing scene.

The performers displayed sensuous physicality, bringing a distinct aesthetic to Talia Landa’s inspired work.

© 2016 John Jane