(MA) The Green Light Effect

Reviewed by Stephanie Medeiros

Art is universal, and should be enjoyed by any who wish to do so. Today, everything is easily accessible, via the internet or international travel, whether or not it is meant to be. But consent to share that art, that culture, that piece of the artist that created it, is important, and often overlooked in the consumer-driven, self-prioritizing, and instant gratification-demanding world. The "Green Light Effect" show explored the concept of consent in art, in blending cross-cultural styles, and in our personal selves. Producers Lúlu Stone and Jaylee put on a lovely introspective and enlightening show that was a real joy to witness.

Another performance at the YMCA theater in Cambridge - absolutely no stage accents or embellishment, and somewhat comfortable temperature-wise. The show nearly sold out. Lúlu and a “mute” Jaylee welcomed the audience with a brief introduction about their own personal thoughts, experiences, and ideas about giving others the “green light,” both for their art and themselves. It stressed the importance of community, respect for each other, and the appropriate understanding amongst artists and their audiences.  All music was used with expressly-given permission from the respective musicians, some internationally recognizable and others more underground, but incredible nonetheless. The local musicians featured in the show gave away samples of their music at the merchandise tables.

The show opened with a fun and flirty all-inclusive performance by Lúlu and her students, called “Pass the Champagne”. They delivered a fantastic blend of style, color, and creativity with a touch of sass and high energy. It prepared the audience for a roller coaster ride of art, emotion, and fantastic talent.

Kaldasi’s performance, titled “Clear Away,” was a sequel piece that explored a duality within herself; the masculine and feminine, the mutual relationship between patriarchal and matriarchal aspects of her personality and preferences. It was an evocative, emotional piece displaying her personal self struggle of acceptance. She portrays hunter and prey, object and seeker, and how both roles meet in a wonderfull checkmate of self-assurance.

“Awakening,” Jaylee’s solo, was definitely the most emotional of the show. As a survivor of sexual assault, Jaylee took the audience through her trauma and recovery step by step. There was a creative incorporation of trigger words written across her body and costume, highlighting each event in her journey. It was a heart-wrenching performance with beautiful veil work and evocative expression. Revealing each new word on her body throughout, from “guilt,” “victim,” and “shame” to “healing,” “forgiveness,” and “I am enough,“ she transitioned between tentative and delicate movements to empowering displays of strength and the ability to overcome. Jaylee bared her soul for the audience, and it was a resounding, breathtaking experience.

Lúlu and Katie Bircher had a lovely back-and-forth, illustrating people’s tendency to self-deprecate in times of doubt and failure. Katie portrayed the ups and downs of life, with Lúlu as her little inner voice encouraging her to pick herself up and get back to living the life she deserved. It was a playful and endearing look at a problem many people face every day, illustrated through a quirky and high spirited duet, titled “voice? VOICE!”

Dahnii took control of the room with her performance, as if to say “Look out world, here I am!” Her confidence in herself, and her amazing dancing ability, was a radiant light that drowned out any and all negativity the world may try to throw her way. “Bloom Into Me” represented what all should hope and aspire to do; to love and accept one’s self just as they are.

The next piece was a trifecta of wonderful shapes, a la the talent and grace of Tamsyn Bindal, Kalidasi, and Lúlu, with on-point synchronization and a tasteful blend of many complementary dance styles. The performance ranged from traditional belly dance technique, to Indian and Balinese, with each of the three dancers highlighting her own sense of style. Recycled from a solo Lúlu once performed, it illustrates the concept of art embracing all forms and parts of itself and becoming a greater whole through that “Evolution;” making it an aptly-named piece.

 “Sirens” was an explosive start to act 2. Di’Ahna, Jaylee, and Dahnii came out in a tidal wave of seductive predatory power, owning their feminine wiles with no shame whatsoever for who they are and what they wanted. Each dancer got her own chance to lure their prey with a miniature solo that blended perfectly into the group piece. The costuming was beautiful, and it was a crowd favorite.

 Inaya Nour’s “Ebb” was a wonderful piece of contrasts. She went from rigid and robotic to graceful and smooth, displaying a marvelous capability for flexibility and jaw-dropping silhouettes. Each aspect of her performance was a juxtaposition, but as a part of the same whole, and that’s exactly what made it beautiful.

Di’Ahna’s solo, dubbed “Deliverance,” was all about embracing the dark times, knowing there are bright times ahead. It was a fun and bodacious contemporary belly dance piece that had the audience smiling. Her expression is so rich and vibrant that it’s impossible to not be pulled in to her every move. Truly an uplifting and fun performance.

The next piece, “Tallest Tree,” was dedicated in the program to two special men in particular, as well as all men who promote women’s rights. The choreography demonstrated a struggle, to a wavering foundation, and branching out into newfound territory. Lúlu started with incredible floor work, and eventually rose to a stand, with incredible grace and flair. She seamlessly incorporated ballet-esque accents, and finished with an epic shimmy that should go down in history.

“Leylet Hob” closed the show with a wonderful group act based in the traditional, but with perfectly blended contemporary aspects. It was easy to see how happy and exhilarated each performer was, with an energetic and cohesive piece that was an incredible representation of the show’s theme; consent, appreciation, and acceptance.