The first time I attended an IONA Contemporary Dance Theatre performance, I was surrounded by beautiful, lithe dancers in full-body makeup and animal costumes, who gracefully made their way through the crowd, silently interacting with the audience. I felt like I was in a scene from “Eyes Wide Shut” and didn’t know quite what to make of my surroundings.
It was the first time I had ever been to such an event, and I was both confused and fascinated. Was I supposed to react to their interaction? Could I touch them? Why was a dancer dressed as a zebra? Questions filled my head as I tried to make sense of it all. But as I got over my initial disorientation, I began to fully appreciate the artistry of the IONA dancers.
I’ve attended several more IONA performances since then, and while the acts can range from simply interesting to totally mesmerizing, there is no doubting the commitment and artistry of the dancers.
“La Madonna” is the troupe’s current performance and is by far the most enjoyable performance I’ve been to. Once it starts, it never stops and much credit must be given to the dancers who perform for well over an hour. There are over a dozen acts located all over the former Banana Republic store in Waikiki, and time passes quickly as you experience all of the living altars to goddesses.
Photos do not do this performance justice. It must be experienced live to be appreciated. Also, don’t forget that the acts are interactive, so don’t be afraid to step right up in front of the dancers and join in on the performance.
So while I still may not totally “get” contemporary dance, I enjoy it a lot and I highly recommend checking it out.
There will be two more performances of “La Madonna,” tonight at 8 p.m. and tomorrow at 7. Tickets are $35 through advance sale and $40 at the door. A special Mother’s Day package is also available online where you can buy four tickets for $100. Here’s a link to purchase tickets.