Apparition is a totally unique dance performance and audio visual spectacle. This piece conceived and directed by Klaus Obermaier combines video with live dance, but takes the audience into new realms of cutting edge visual effects using state of the art interactive technologies that are projected on set backgrounds and live dancers Desiree Kongerod and Rob Tannion.
The dancers use the software as their choreographed partners in a display of surreal visuals unparalleled in any live performance I have ever seen. The concept is similar to Beyonce’s ground-breaking performance at the 2011 Billboard Millennium Award show, but Apparition takes this technology to a new level entirely. The dancers play with shadows and light in a captivating manner, interacting with their backdrops and each other in such a way that twists the reality of the viewer to the point that the difference between actual and virtual space are indecipherable.
The sets are made of moving lines twisting and vibrating on the screen in such a way that the dancers look like they are emerging from the screen of a 3D movie or falling into the hole in the screen behind them. The swirling fractal effects of vertical lines on the set with horizontal lines enveloping the dancers leaves audiences with a visually stunning, psychedelic feeling that when it hit, had tremendous impact.
My only criticism is that at times the dancers’ timing is slightly off with the visuals behind them, so those scenes are less impactful. A few of the solo performances were a bit too slow for such minimalist techno music and I would like to see more of a theme that would give the individual performances more unification. I would also appreciate costumes that give more flattering silhouettes.
The strength, balance, and flexibility of the dancers is an impressive demonstration of timing and self-discipline. Elements of jazz and contemporary dance are evident, as well as yoga postures, tai chi sequences, and martial arts. The unity and fluidity of the dancers when merged creates shapes that are not human – sometimes the silhouettes appear to be organic and other times they look monstrous.
The most impressive images of solar systems can be created by dancers simply standing still or holding a pose and it is difficult to distinguish where one dancer stops and the next starts. The stillness and contortion of their bodies allows the audience to forget that there are live dancers on stage and just sit back and be totally engrossed in the experience.
This innovative combination of dance and light is the most enthralling show I have seen in some time and raises the standards for the future of audio-visual effects in live theatre productions.