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SB Dance goes for ‘adult’ thrills in Halloween show
SB Dance director Stephen Brown is determined to reclaim Halloween as an adult holiday. Or at least let the kids do their thing, then let the adults do theirs.
His newest show, "Of Meat and Marrow," is for "mature minds of any age," he said, describing SB Dance's latest offering as a rock opera dance circus that is funny, frightening and a little filthy. The 70-minute show features 14 performers, original music played live by rock band Totem & Taboo, a 15-foot metal sculpture, a mile of Mylar and a human cannonball.
And after the show, which runs Friday through Sunday, Oct. 25-27, at the Rose Wagner Theatre in Salt Lake City, audience members are invited to an "AfterLife AfterParty" for drinks and dancing.
The show has been a work in progress for two years, and it premiered for a single sold-out night in June. Now the dark, comic adventure set in hell arrives at its final destination and Brown's favorite holiday — Halloween.
Brown said he loves the holiday because it's a celebration of monsters. "For kids, monsters are scary alien things. For adults, what's scary about monsters is that we know them so well. 'Of Meat and Marrow' hooks into the latter interpretation to reclaim Halloween for adults. So the show is sensual but squirm-inducing; playful and circus-y but with the right amount of mystery; and, above all, it nails how all of us get the monsters we deserve."
Then there's the "AfterLife AfterParty" with the cast.
"We've always had private after-parties but now we're making them public. After curtain, folks with AfterLife AfterParty tickets go through the lobby to get onstage for a lovely celebration with a dance area, fine beverages and light nosh," he said.
Dancer Annie Kent said the show has developed considerably from this summer's piece.
"Stephen has created more depth and choreography within the show that seems to have tied up loose ends from the June presentation and added more depth to the story and more stunning visual appeal. This has spiced up character development, story line and overall drive," she said.
And it's not just inducing chills in the audience. She said for her, there are parts of the show that are genuinely scary. "Hmm, hard to choose just one," she said. "How about when 700 pounds of men run full speed toward me and then slam a metal tank over my entire body? That's pretty intense."
Brian Kubarycz, guitarist of Totem & Taboo, said there will be no bigger spectacle in town Halloween weekend. He agrees with dancer Kent that there are moments of the show where he is scared.
"What looks merely impressive from the water's edge appears truly perilous once you're in the rapids," he said. "The props are even bigger and heavier than they first appear. We've had blood on the stage in the last few rehearsals. I recall simultaneously playing a guitar solo and dodging a 200-pound body careening at me on a steel gurney. If you want to get out of this show alive, it's not wise to hunker down into your instrument. You need to keep your head up and stay engaged with all the beautiful chaos that's reigning around you."
Vanessa Angulo, the lead singer and producer of Totem & Taboo, said the show is the perfect place to have a bit of "adult" Halloween fun.
"You can sit next to your lucky date — have your sensibilities challenged as well as your understanding of the human body," she said. "The agility and bravery of these dancers is not normal. It is sexy, it is scary, it is hilarious and weird. The freak show side of Halloween, the exhibition of crazy from which you can't turn away."
Brown says he can absolutely see his company doing a Halloween show every year: "Hell to the yes. We're having a blast and, judging from June's trial run, the audience is, too," he said.
SB Dance’s “Of Meat and Marrow”
When » Friday, Oct. 25, and Saturday, Oct. 26, at 8 p.m. with the AfterLife AfterParty from 9:10 to 11 p.m.; Sunday, Oct. 27, at 4 p.m. with no afterparty.
Where » Jeanné Wagner Theatre at the Rose Wagner Performing Arts Center, 138 W. 300 South, Salt Lake City
Tickets » $20-$27.50 from 801-355-ARTS or arttix.org
More information » sbdance.com