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Will I Survive?- A Review of “I Don’t Believe in Outer Space”

Posted by Anna Kozlova on 27th November 2011

After watching “I Don’t Believe in Outer Space,” it took me a while to register what I had just seen. I did know that there were duct tape balls all over the floor, that dancers moved around haphazardly across the stage, and that the “music” jumped at the quietest moments, nearly scaring me out of my seat. What I still don’t know is whether there is any real theme to this “ballet” show. I’ll do my best to analyze what happened throughout the performance, although I’m sure that’s not the point of the production.

While dancers in “I Don’t Believe in Outer Space” don’t use graceful, flowing, or technically difficult techniques, movement is the key motif of the show. There are no leaping, twirling figures, or feats of athletic strength. Rather, a series of stereotypical characters is acted out in very exaggerated form, giving distinct moments of clarity in an otherwise confusing show. I specifically remember the main female dancer switching between two very definite personas: the angular, praying mantis-like neighbor with a voice horror movie villains would be proud to have, and the prim, uptight, hand-wringing suburban wife.

In one of the pieces that particularly stood out, a female voice describes how movements come together, “suddenly, as if by chance.” Throughout her narration, many dancers move, writhe, clash together and vibrate apart, weaving between the many balls of duct tape strewn across the stage.

Throughout such strange sequences, random characters speak the lyrics of “I Will Survive,” occasionally eliciting awkward laughter from the audience.

The end is surprisingly poignant, as an older woman examines the form of a younger dancer, bemoaning physical movements that can no longer be done. If there was anything that I got from this strange performance, it was that movement tells a story, if a very convoluted one. Most of the time, I just tried to figure out what the heck was going on onstage.

 

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