Monday, September 19, 2011

Project Bandaloop Bound(less)

IMG_3010Project Bandaloop's Mint Plaza preview provoked me into attending their full performance of Bound(less) in Oakland on Saturday night. I arrived at least 20 minutes before the show, & the street in front of The Great Wall was already packed. It was shoulder to shoulder where we stood on the corner of Grand Ave. & Valley St. Project Bandaloop's dancers perform airborne, hanging off the side of the building by mountain climbing ropes. It's a spectacle, with the dancers scrambling down the wall like insects, assuming gravity-defying poses, & doing impossible lifts & leaps. The dancers often appear to be standing horizontally on the wall, creating the illusion that we are looking down at them from above. When they push away from the wall, they appear to fly in slow motion. One dancer sailed across the wall & precisely grabbed the corner of the building, causing gasps from the audience. I should be terrified watching, but Bandaloop move so gracefully that they made me wish I could do it myself.

The performance lasted about an hour & was composed of a variety of pieces for different combinations of the 6 dancers. In the opening number, 3 women joined by one long white dress create different shapes as they gradually descend. One solo starts with a male dancer sitting in a rocking chair suspended half way up the wall. He later seems to get involved in a fight with 2 other male dancers. A sad duet between a man & a woman ends when the woman reaches the ground while the man still hangs in the air.

The show was accompanied by a wonderful romantic jazz score by Dana Leong. The fearless Mr. Leong started the show by standing on the top ledge of the building & playing a soulful solo overture on the trombone. Safely back on the ground, he played melodic solos on the electric cello, throwing in tremolos, harmonics, pizzicatos & strumming for added color.

The performance was free, though there was a paid VIP section with seating directly in front of the wall. Many people showed up with their own lawn chairs or blankets. T-shirts & beverages were for sale. There were some crowd control problems across the street where the crowds on the sidewalk were so dense that people could not get to the entrance of a building.

§ Bound(less)
Project Bandaloop
September 17, 2011 8:30 pm
The Great Wall of Oakland

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