“Mysterious” and “cataclysmic” were the words I used to describe Lemi Ponifasio’s Tempest: Without a Body four years ago. I remember strange ceremonial scuttling in front of floating, blood-stained walls. I remember an apocalyptic ending of thrashing and crashing. (Click here and scroll down for my review.)
Now, with his New Zealand–based group MAU, Ponifasio brings Birds With Skymirrors to BAM for its U. S. premiere Nov 19–22. This is a rare chance to see an artist who transports us far beyond our everyday concerns. Or….maybe the end of the earth as we know it is an everyday concern. Many of the MAU dancers are from low-lying atolls where it’s said that the effects of climate change are felt before other parts of the world. The title is based on something he witnessed while working in the Micronesian Islands. He saw birds soaring through the sky carrying strips of videotape in their beaks. Struck by the beauty of this image, he also felt it as a kind of omen for the end of nature.
A multi-disciplinary artist, Ponifasio has designed the set as well as the choreography. The dancing is gestural and interspersed with chanting. Expect a dark vision, highly theatrical and at times emotionally shattering.
For tickets, click here. http://www.bam.org/theater/2014/birds-with-skymirrors