Nobody likes dance shows. It's an arts statistic we don't like to talk about. People will wander through free museum exhibits; they'll show up with their bottles of wine for Shakespeare in Park; they'll even sell out operas like Carmen and Turandot. But nobody sits through dance anymore, except reluctant parents at their kid's annual Christmastime Nutcracker. Modern dance? Fuggedaboutit.
Then how the hell did Danielle Georgiou Dance Group sell out the Friday night performance of Dirty, Filthy Diamonds? Because it's pretty freaking cool, that's how.
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The company's eponymous choreographer collaborated with a group of talented artists to create an experience that vacillates between skin-crawling and humorous, relying on short bursts of dialogue to weave together a compellingly abstract narrative on the human condition.
When paired with composer Jermy Elizabeth Johnson's electronic music, Emily Loving and Justin Locklear's set feels like a post-apocalyptic gymnasium. The dancers onstage don't seem like prissy ballerinas at all; they seem like teenagers at a Hunger Games pep rally. This science fiction milieu is sustained through Hillary Holsonback's make-up design, which colors the dancers' lips an electric blue and fits them all with dark bobbed wigs. The women all look the same: a theme the performance cracks wide open.
One of the many things Diamonds does right is invite the casual observer in on its message. Although abstract, it's not obscure. It's not pretending to be smarter than you. Georgiou's choreography shows you its themes, as it illustrates subjects like the evolution of dance and the way that women compete and pick on one another. It's a smart one-hour show with a wild heartbeat. But more important, Dirty, Filthy Diamonds is an example of what modern dance could be: edgy, raw, a little perverse, but pretty damn cool.
Catch this show at 8 p.m. Monday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday this week. Tickets are 10 bucks and available online or at the door.