Even earlier than “Black Gap: Trilogy and Triathlon” begins, it’s already in intriguing movement. As you are taking your seat at New York Dwell Arts, you can also make out a bumpy mound on the ground of the darkened stage. The factors of sunshine that illuminate this blob flow into and swell, so it appears alive. Is one thing in there?
Sure, it seems. As from a cocoon, a physique emerges headfirst from the tarp — Shamel Pitts, the choreographer of this Afrofuturist work, which had its New York premiere on Thursday. Two extra our bodies observe: Tushrik Fredericks and Marcella Lewis, members of Tribe, the multidisciplinary artist collective that Pitts directs.
These our bodies are bronzed and creaturely. These are dancers of robust presence and management. As if evolving, they slither, then crawl and crab stroll, then stand and run. The development is gradual and collective. The three hinging our bodies are sometimes linked, stacked, nested. They pause collectively and lookup into the sunshine, out into the cosmos, as individuals in science fiction movies do.
That gentle, video projection by Lucca Del Carlo, is lunar. It might really feel as if you happen to’re watching by evening imaginative and prescient goggles. The sci-fi sound rating, by Sivan Jacobovitz with modifying by Zen Jefferson, suggests the hum and rumble of a spaceship with choirs (bits of John Tavener’s “Funeral Canticle”) rising out of ambient synths — till the thumping turns right into a pulse, a beat. It’s the delivery of the membership.
By this level, the lights are swirling just like the aurora borealis and the undulant dancers are waving their fingers within the air like they simply don’t care. A supernova burst sends them spinning collectively as on a teacup trip after which out of each other’s orbits. Remoted, every in a distinct hue (crimson, blue, inexperienced), they transfer alone. Hopeful radio fragments of Nina Simone come by — “new daybreak,” “new day” — however the dancers crumple, fingers to faces.
Ultimately, they be a part of collectively once more in a collection of sculptural embraces, huddled in opposition to the void and the cosmic chill but additionally handsomely organized for a vogue shoot. The entire hourlong work, the ultimate installment in a trilogy with “Black Field” and “Black Velvet,” is curiously trendy and honest, glossily chilly and tender. At all times visually placing, it’s by no means boring. Nevertheless it transpires at a distance.
When the three crawl again into the cocoon, it’s not the top. With the tarp as a cloak or cape, they turn out to be different composite creatures. Lewis, shedding the others, seems to be for a second just like the prow of a spaceship. Star-points of sunshine appear to be sucked into the middle of the rear wall, the black gap the place the three stand embracing. That’s the place we lose them in the dead of night.
Shamel Pitts | Tribe
Via Saturday at New York Dwell Arts; newyorklivearts.org.