FringeArts Review – Off-center of Leo’s gravitySep 16th, 2013 | By Whittington | Category: Lew's Danceland
by Lewis Whittington for The Dance Journal
“He can’t do that.“ a little girl said during the first few moments of LEO, when it looked dancer William Bonnet was defying gravity. She wasn’t the only one who said in delighted wonderment as LEO was being pulled and levitated in unexpected ways when everybody knows what goes up must come down.
LEO is in his room with his suitcase which is a music box with sounds of salsa, novelty tunes, hip-hop and ballads and classical and he dances to these in those styles for comic effect. Heavy metal blaring out has him upside down in the corner. Sitar music comes out of the suitcase and LEO flings himself into a half-lotus position in the upper left wall. Talk about yogic elevation. Meanwhile, in non-virtual reality, Bonnet’s acrobatic prowess is mostly adagio, and the precision of movement, real and skewered, compete for your focus.
Dancer Tobias Wegner came up with the concept of LEO, inspired by Fred Astaire’s dancing on the walls and ceiling dance in Royal Wedding. Without a room on a tumbler like it was for that movie he devised side by side rooms (one real, one a video feed) with the left side projecting his images from different angles, so it looks like LEO is horizontal when he is actually vertical, upside down when he is right side up, a north-south mirror image- you don’t need to figure it out even though the illusions play with your optics so much you are constantly trying to figure it out. But this isn’t all camera tricks. Wegner first performed this, but Bonnet is a ringer for this, his esprit, acrobatic clowning and movement language is theatrical magic.
LEO gets Astairesque in other ways when Frank Sinatra comes on singing “I got the world on a string” but LEO is not sitting on a rainbow as the next line says, he’s trapped in this room with squirrelly gravity. He gets very dancy with Sinatra, as well as melancholy for romance. Suddenly, the 2nd movement of Beethoven’s 7th symphony LEO starts to draw objects in the room with chalk- a chair, a cat, a table, and wine for two- he waits but no one appears.
But, LEO doesn’t crumble in this profound moment of existentialism, turns up his imagination and in the other room the animals are virtually animated, but a human mate doesn’t come in, so he drinks alone; instead of getting sullen, ends up almost drowning in his own sorrows, but plunges into the comic depths of by way of Swan Lake…but can’t spoil this great escape.
Direction -Daniel Brière
Creative Producer – Greg Parks
Original Idea by Tobias Wegner
Choreography – Juan Kruz Diaz de Garaio Esnaola
Animation – Ingo Panke
Video Design – Heiko Kalmbach
Set and Lighting – Flavia Hevia