They Dance In The Dark

They Dance In The Dark

The gender fluid performance presentation by Renu is a gorgeous multi-layered performance piece to promote her new album They Dance in Dark.

The layers include live and filmed dance and body movement, live and recorded drums and percussion, recorded and live electronics, spoken word poetry and prose, and multimedia film and slide projection. Electronic live mixing of the album is done by Renu, with sound engineering by the oscillating genius that is Baptiste Moulin.

The poetically muscular performers are Berlin-based artist Salma, Miss Sugar Mamasota who works out of Brooklyn and London-based Raju Rage. Dreamy yet tangible video art was created, directed and conceived by Renu and Salma, and filmed and edited by Yue Wang, who live mixes the visuals. The set was concieved by Renu and Salma, and includes an eerie and enormous harlequin mask by Madeleine Duflot.

The artists inhabit the performance with a questioning presence. One of the dancers, Raju Rage, describes their work as being about ‘breaking binaries and moving into that space of complexity and nuance.’ At one point during the performance Raju places a sign in front of us which reads ‘our lives are not up for debate.’

Renu’s initial direction to Salma was to bring a strong femme character into the performance. Salma is of Levantinian and Mesopotamian heritage, and chose to represent the Godess Nin Ana whom she portrays with hypnotic movements and striking stances.

ALWAYS YOU inspiration of costume ALWAYS YOU.jpg

Salma’s costume

‘In the process of brainstorming the costume, I remembered a photo, where three people from Syria/Lebanon were photographed in 1880. It is the person in the middle that strikes me the most: she is wearing a gown called a tarha. We went to a tailor in Dehli with a sketch and the photo. After seeing footage of the costume we could see that we had unwittingly conjured the black goddess Kalima.’

This performance explores that area in our lives which is unacknowledged. Perhaps we are so in denial that we don’t recognise it ourselves. That area between man and woman. African and Asian. Day and night. Good and bad. Wrong and right. Darkness and light.

Because of this denial we are forced out of the light.

Come and see Renu’s They Dance In The Dark and see what has been hidden for too long.

Listen to the Is Black Music interview with Renu

Billy Harper

Billy Harper