Abstract multimedia dance fuses science, art

John Manalang

The collaboration of art and science is an abstract idea. Some might say that the two subjects are opposites, as the creativity of art clashes with the logic of science. But dance choreographer Donna Sternberg and digital media artist Michael Masucci have worked together for 18 months to draw a parallel between the two ideologies.

On the night of April 28, audiences came to Plaza Del Sol in CSUN to witness the premiere of “Rage to Know,” a mesmerizing dance and multimedia show combining the creative nature of art with the logical expression of science.

During the panel, audiences were perplexed about the show’s motive. “I’m not sure what to expect,” one audience member said.

Suddenly, as the curtains rose to unveil the show’s introduction, the show mesmerized and made the audience feel like they were not in Plaza Del Sol anymore.

The audience was engulfed in a complete trance through the show’s enigmatic and profound music, produced by Masucci. The interpretive dancing choreographed by Sternberg seamlessly blended with the music’s mysterious vibe. Abstract vocals from singer Elif Savas echoed through the background. The video backdrop displayed techno-like forms and shapes that pulsated to the music and amplified the emotions of the dancers.

The story behind the production pokes fun at the idea of a collaboration between art and science. An artist, played by Jeffrey Klein, and a scientist, played by Kate Johnson, argue with one another throughout the show, debating topics such as whether chaos is a mere theory or a grim reality. Both performers played their roles exceptionally well. Klein’s character resonated with his energetic aura and Johnson’s logical credence added credibility to her role.

Sternberg’s dancers, the real stars of the show, did an exceptional job in capturing the emotion of the music. The choreography melded the grace of ballet with the aggressive force of contemporary dancing. A prominent part of the show was the beginning, when the dancers are silhouetted in an elastic cloth.

However, dance performance in the show surmounted the presence of science. The video backdrop showed quotations and equations by great scientists such as Albert Einstein. The scientific background added a vague theme to performance, as the images’ relevance to the performance was unclear.

“Rage to Know” explored the possibility of creativity and logic working together. The show did not offer any immediate thrills or excitement, but delivered a visceral, mesmerizing and thought-provoking experience that lingered with the audience. In “Rage to Know,” Sternberg and Masucci have drawn a parallel between art and science that transcends the limitations of reality.