|Dandelion Dancetheater's "Friend," Photo credit Dana Ullman|
(And isn’t that the most comforting feeling when you’ve committed yourself to a seat in a theater?)
This is what I find most enchanting about Dandelion. They revel in using different mediums. They’re never coy about saying one thing in a song and then the next thing in a dance. They fully commit. Their formal training in the different areas may vary, but they move between them with confidence. It’s extremely powerful, and when a Dandelion show works, it will pretty much knock you right out of your chair.
“Arthur in Underland” is based on parts of the life of Dandelion’s director, Eric Kupers. In the program notes he describes it as “one of the most personally vulnerable pieces I’ve ever made. It is based on a time in my life that turned everything I believed and thought I wanted upside-down.” This is the story of a young man who finds his world fracturing into confusion. It’s a story about discovering your sexual identity, about darkness and self-destruction. You don’t actually need the program notes to feel the emotional honesty of this piece, but they do give you a glimpse of how Dandelion works:
“…as each ensemble member has filtered these stories through their own experiences, we’ve arrived at something I could never have predicted. In this world we’ve discovered onstage, I’ve been able to re-enter and embody the violent conflicts of my young desire, fear, confusion, and longing.”
And that is why I admire Eric Kupers and the impressive group of people—musicians, actors, writers, and dancers, all at once and to varying degrees—who make up Dandelion Dancetheater. They create work with such honesty and belief that it becomes magical. You are sitting in that clearing, in the middle of a dark forest and they are telling you a story that is keeping out the night.
If you want to see the show:
“Arthur in Underland”
At: CounterPulse, 1310 Mission Street, San Francisco
Fridays-Sundays, March 9-18, 8 PM