“Amplification”

BalletLab’s ‘Amplification’ confronts death and the viewer

The latest White Bird dance concert is strange and disconcerting

BalletLab's "Amplification"/Photo Jeff Busby

BalletLab’s “Amplification”/Photo Jeff Busby

In the lengthy Q&A with Phillip Adams included in the program for Phillip Adams BalletLab Thursday night, the choreographer describes his many methods of research while developing Amplification in the late 1990s. He mail-ordered VHS tapes of car crash tests, interviewed accident victims, and visited morgues (where he purchased the same body bags used in today’s performances). Seemingly without hesitation, he says in the Q&A: “I have a terrible fear of death, and so the afterlife is worth exploring. I create works to live out my fantasy of life after death, if it were only for 60 minutes I can escape to that world.”

Amplification is very much a choreographer’s piece. The work is a full collaboration between the dancers, the DJ, and the great lighting designer Benjamin Cisterne, all in service of Adams’ ideas and obsessions. The sound and lighting aren’t just there to highlight or complement a dance performance, they’re integrated into a dense, idea-driven production that draws on a wide range of influences. Adams lists science fiction and visual art as important influences, both immediately apparent in the way that space and narrative are manipulated.

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