Friday, January 28, 2011

Project THRUST, Project BUST

My friend, Malinda LaVelle, is a dancer and choreographer possessed of extraordinary powers.

She started a company last year (Project THRUST) and is working on a piece (Project BUST, also known as BOOBS) which will eventually be an evening length extravaganza.

Project THRUST is performing on Sunday, and I want to give this more volume than my general internet shouts of excitement in the face of a friend's accomplishment because BUST is something rare and honestly thrilling. It is a night in the theater that presents a pungent, gut-socking, gorgeous, and hilarious argument for why dance should matter. It makes standing up on stage and moving under the eyes of other people as relevant as real life, as good film, as human interest stories ought to be, but mostly aren't.

Things I would compare it to: This American Life (the episodes that make you stagger in recognition, like "What You Lookin' At"), the photographs of Sandy Skoglund, Boccaccio '70 turned inside-out, reading old letters from people you once knew so well you imagined you would know them for always.

I've always had to miss previous performances of this piece. I've always had to be at work, or in rehearsal, or out of town. I'd heard it was good, and I knew it had to be a certain level of decent because Malinda has an interesting taste for movement and a particularly talented cast of dancers, but I didn't expect to like it as much as I did. I have trouble with art that is about "being a woman," and a piece about boobs is inevitably, at least partially, that.

But, my god, it impresses. It is the best dance thing I've seen in the past year. It is a piece of sheer and shameless entertainment, by which I mean something that engages you, that looks you in the eye and is not afraid of handing you your humanity on a plate. It carries you across a landscape of movement and emotion, and it periodically explodes with hilarity and sadness, sometimes at the exact same time.

It's the kind of thing that makes you recognize how silly and messy all of us are, and then it makes you happy that you do indeed suffer those side effects because you're lucky enough to be alive.

I say go. Sunday, January 30th, at 8:00 PM. And, if you can't go now, plan on August. That might be even better. The full shebang.

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