Tandy Beal is one of the most enduring treasures of Santa Cruz County. An internationally recognized dancer, choreographer, and teacher who has performed on four continents, she's like our own personal Cirque de Soleil; her productions offer a feast of dance, music, comedy, drama, and soaring imagination. Any new production from Tandy Beal & Company is an event, and her latest, HereAfterHere, presented last weekend to sold-out houses at Cabrillo's new Crocker Theater, is no exception.
Subtitled "A self-guided tour of eternity," it's a wry, intriguing, poignant, never depressing, often hilarious inquiry into the idea of death and what may or may not come after. It's a multi-media affair with 25 performers live onstage, three screens of film and video projections, and a propulsive, haunting, finely nuanced original musical score by Jon Scoville, Beal's longtime accomplice and partner in creative rapture. There are moments of eloquent pondering throughout, but this thoughtful, probing show is never mournful. Rather, it celebrates the adventure of life, this grand stage on which every single one of us is called upon to perform without a net.
I especially liked the range of ages in Beal's company of dancers and performers: exuberant children, elegant seniors, and every age and temperament in between. Kate Edmunds' minimalist set makes deft use of vertical cubbyholes stacked up behind a scrim upstage, where various performers are spotlighted now and then as if on a different spiritual or terrestrial plane. Videos of diverse people talking about the afterlife they imagine are often droll, or unexpectedly moving. Best of show? The video that encapsulates the entire arc of human life, from the cradle to the grave, in about 30 riotous seconds, and the final percussive ensemble dance leading up to a final image of breathtaking artistry and power.
Next up for Tandy Beal & Company is a Collaboration With New Music Works in October, followed by the irreverent annual holiday favorite, Mixed Nutz: The Nutcracker REMixed, coming in November and December.
(Image: Tandy Beal in Kyoto, as seen on www.albertsbicycle.com)
OPEN STUDIOS UPDATE
Word is out that the first of three Silver Tickets hidden away in randomly selected copies of this year's Open Studios Art Tour Calendar/Guide has been found! That means there are still two tickets out there, one for $250 and one for $500 toward the purchase of a piece of original art from the OS artist of your choice. Find out how to get your Calendar here; you could be next!