Nicholas Leichter Dance
The lights come up on a lone piano in a spot light. Monstah Black, as a sultry crooner, sings over his shoulder, directly to us. It is an invitation that says, “Hey, lean forward, listen up. You, audience, are part of this show; we are together here inside the space of performance, let’s see how it unfolds.”
What unfolds is an exuberant hybrid of contemporary, folk and popular dance, musical theatre, spoken word, spoof, camp and vamp and a pinch of everything else. The company weaves through the audience, the lights rise and fade and the spell is woven.
The penultimate section, Lena, danced with mesmerizing power by Lisa Race, brought the evening into focus. In the program notes, Deb Cash calls Nicholas Leichter’s Whiz a study in reflection and refraction. Lena was the mirror for the show. All that was extroverted, relational and narrative in the show was transformed in Lena to a powerful interiority. Movements originated in the torso, limbs were contained. Race moved as one fluid entity, without flourish or distractions. A verse from the Tao Te Ching says, We shape clay into a pot, but it is the empty space inside that gives the pot its purpose.We work with being, but non-being is what we use.