The Lucent Dossier Experience delivered a pair of incredible shows at The Palace Theater in Los Angeles last weekend. The mad cabaret was packed with inspiring dance, aerial and fire performances, and rousing live music. The spectacle was a blend of many different artistic mediums and aesthetics, from Lucent‘s signature brand of Haute Couture and deranged circus style, to the strange, playful and thought-provoking designs and costumes of German Street Art duo Herakut.
Their artistic themes include a melding of humans with animals, with many depictions of children, beauty, and innocence juxtaposed with gritty sewers, violence, poverty, and pensiveness. They often have messages of hope or philosophical musings in their work. This is pulled off in a playful, not heavy-handed manner in this project, and though the show lacked a clear overall message or context to tie all the action together, it was irresistibly beautiful and engaging; I can’t get it out of my head!
Much of the magic comes in the interactions between performers, as they bounce off each other, bunch up and burst apart. Each member plays a key role in creating the effect of the scenes, and every movement is carefully planned to capture different moods and characters as they tell stories with their bodies. Couples dance and hang from each other in the air, the whole cast weaves through smoke-filled sets and spills into the audience – you’re never sure what will happen next!
The dynamic choreography and captivating dancing of Anthony “Greenz” Scarano really shined in this incarnation. Full of character and explosive movement, inhuman speed and direction changes and many influences, his segments always blow me away. A new mix of street and Broadway styles, of break dance and ballet, they create a world of grace, brutality, and play that is a reflection of and commentary on our culture.
Director and performer Dream Rockwell creates surreal atmospheres with her powerful voice and ethereal presence. The live band played everything from orchestral scores to swing, rock, and incendiary dubstep. Jade Magnifico-Greensberg is a great fire lead who brings that element to the stage in a unique and dramatic way. The aerialists, led by Angel Leopold, are amazing, and all of the performers and dancers have distinct personalities and appearances – it was hard to know who to watch sometimes, so much was going on! It is fascinating and rare to watch such perfectly controlled vessels of primal energy, wild, impish spirits, expressing themselves so passionately and precisely.
The Finale left us agape, and a long standing ovation followed. Vaudeville has survived and evolved into something with fewer words and more fire, a non-stop sensory extravaganza for the modern mind. That’s not to say it is without poetry or subtlety, but it chooses to speak more in the universal languages of music and physical performance. This is an artform that needs to stay alive and continue to spread. Though its found a niche in festival culture and a community of psychedelic freaks that attend religiously (many also in costume), this type of show would appeal to a lot of people if they knew about it.
Truly “Agents of Transformation”, the company can be infused into any narrative envelope or theme to give the spectacular acts even more resonance and meaning. Lucent’s costume and make-up team is one of the best, morphing the cast into new forms at each show. The troupe brings ideas vibrantly to life and creates inspirational performances audiences will never forget.
See Herakut in Los Angeles at LeBasse Projects Feb. 25th – March 17th (Reception on Feb. 25th)
Special Thanks to The Do Lab for making it all happen!
Photos by Emma Gault: