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ARTS & ENTERTAINMENTRSS

© Courtesy of the Aluminum Show

Shimmying slinkies

by Joy Neumeyer at 19/03/2012 20:06

Until March 25 at the Cosmos Hotel Concert Hall, 150 Prospekt Mira, m. VDNKh, www.cosmos-hall.ru

See aluminum writhe like a snake, blow up like a balloon and – in one memorable sequence – make aluminum babies in “The Aluminum Show,” the whacky dance hit that’s come to Moscow on an international tour. In the spirit of “Stomp” and Slava Polunin’s “Snow Show,” it fuses dance, rhythm and comedy into a kinetic, kid-friendly performance.

“The Aluminum Show” was created by Israeli choreographer Ilan Azriel in 2003. Azriel found inspiration on a trip to the hardware store, when he accidentally knocked a piece of aluminum tubing on the floor.

The show fuses dance, rhythm and comedy into a kinetic, kid-friendly performance

© Courtesy of the Aluminum Show

The show fuses dance, rhythm and comedy into a kinetic, kid-friendly performance

“I put my hand inside and started to move it, and it looked like a snake,” he said in an interview. “I said ‘Wow, what happens if I go inside?’ I said to the guy at the store, ‘Please give me the big one.’ And I went inside the big one and I started to move.”

Azriel bought a pile of material and brought it to his studio. After some experiments with blowers, “The Aluminum Show” was born.

The 75-minute show follows the story of a small machine, “Slinky,” who journeys through an industrial world of pipes and plastic to find his parents. With the help of eight flexible dancers and some stage techs, aluminum morphs into shapes including a monster, an ocean and puppets who sing along to the Bee Gees and Led Zeppelin.

Most of the material is recycled from factories (around 70 percent is aluminum and the rest plastic). Azriel changes the show as he gets new ideas and donations. “With this material you never stop creating,” he said. “You always find something new.”

The show’s choreography incorporates modern and break dance, while music ranges from hip-hop, to Indian beats, to the hypnotic rustling of the pipes themselves.

See aluminum writhe like a snake and blow up like a balloon

© Courtesy of the Aluminum Show

See aluminum writhe like a snake and blow up like a balloon

For the performers, dancing in tubes rather than tights and leotards presents some difficulties.

“It’s very hot inside, and you can’t always see,” Azriel said. “You need to find some point in the ceiling to know where you are.”

Once, in a show for Israeli television, the troupe performed under a round ceiling, leading to some mix-ups. Since then, they’ve always performed in boxier spaces.

The audience is an important part of the show, smacking balloons, passing around piping and getting showered in aluminum confetti. During the “after party” in the lobby, they can slither into the piping themselves and dance with the performers.

Azriel says this last part is his favorite.

“The Russian people are very serious,” he said. “But at ‘Aluminum Show,’ in the lobby, it’s a different people. Everybody’s happy and dancing.”

“When people laugh, for me it’s the highlight.”

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