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REVIEW: Trends & Tolstoy

Fall, and Rise Again

Celina Colby

Trends & Tolstoy

October 30, 2015

Luminarium has done it again with another spectacular performance. Spektrel, which plays tonight and tomorrow night at the Multicultural Center for the Arts in Cambridge, is an intricate masterwork of light, movement, and emotion. Four pieces center on different stages of life and the inner turmoil that comes with them. In re|connect a frustrated young adult reconnects with her inner child, who’s represented by a video projection of a young girl. The projection talks with the dancer and instructs her through a tension-relieving dance. Often we forget how much wisdom there is in the simplicity of childhood, re|connect reminds us.

My favorite piece was the final installment of the night: Phoenixial Cycle. Choreographed by co-director Merli V. Guerra, the piece follows the bursts and burnouts of the creative lifecycle. Chun-jou Tsai, an elegant, petite dancer rises to the ceiling amidst 40 yards of satin ashes. Boosted from underneath by Matthew Kyle she appears to be floating effortlessly upwards. Slowly she comes down, separates from her protective garments and comes into her own. Stabilized, and at times stressed, by three other dancers, Tsai embarks in a furious whirlwind of movement, a frantic, inspired path of creation. But like so many of us, she pushes herself too far, and crawls back into her satin cocoon to rest, rise, and do it all again.

Working in a host of creative fields, I could so relate to Tsai and, ultimately Guerra’s, struggle in Phoenixial Cycle. The pressure to create stunning, original works is abundant in contemporary society, and often results in young creatives pushing themselves too far. Work/life balance melts away in favor of an unhealthy stop and go mentality. Guerra’s piece turns a torturous, generation-wide phenomenon into a beautiful, haunting performance. In their creative lifecycle, Luminarium has been five years on the rise with no end in sight.

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