Dusan Tynek Dance Theatre proves entrancing in The Ringling’s Joseph’s Coat Skyspace

Movements stop and flow under the shifting light in the intimate setting created by James Turrell

Members of the Dusan Tyneck Dance Theatre perform at The Ringling. Image courtesy The Ringling
Members of the Dusan Tyneck Dance Theatre perform at The Ringling. Image courtesy The Ringling

Six dancers … in white.

In your face … the intimate connection between the dancers in a defined square of a flat stage and the audience in seats and benches; the dancers in conversation with the ever-shifting colors of James Turrell’s Joseph’s Coat Skyspace at The Ringling in Sarasota.

They and the audience are as one with the overhead open square, with the clouds slowly drifting past and the slice of a moon appearing in the aperture to the sky.

On Dec. 18, performers with the Dusan Tynek Dance Theatre entered from the four corners and stood completely still until sound emerged and then melted into a drone that continued for the entire one-hour performance.

I was reminded of a ritual, the walls seemingly covered with green trees; space and nature.

In one word, control: repetitious slow movement. At first, though, easy combinations burst with energy — running and posing, as in a game: runs, stops, the still-as-a-statue stances. But the movements were clean in collaboration with the subtle lighting.

In another word, unison: All four dancers seemed questioning, reacting to the influence of the venue.

The intimacy of the setting created a sense of closeness and a feeling of oneness with the dancers, with their changes in dynamic and breathing — all of us connected through their muscles. And that concocted a magical spell. How and why, I am not sure, but I know that I was energized as I left the performance.

The dancers’ movements were a song in contrast to the constant droning sounds.

At times, painted by the shifting colors, in their constant whirling and balancing, they were like twinkling stars in the sky.

Balancing — arms and legs ready to change rhythm — and — in technical terms — hints of ballet steps preceded sudden shifts of energy and direction. This was very post-Cunningham in the use of patterns with no single fixed point of reference, but a constant shifting of focus.

And then came the trusting backward fall, and I gasped out loud, surprised by my own immersion in their movement. I had not been aware of how rapt I was.