By Patrice Harris
“Its own unique niche” is how Mysteries, Rites and Revelations is introduced to its audience. It’s an accurate introduction because in attending this performance by the Zikr Dance Ensemble, you will be transported to another world. From the first piece titled Stargate and Three Portals, eerie music entrances you while you are introduced to extraterrestrials. The beautiful gliding and completely in sync movements of the dancers in Pieta start to make connections between religion, culture, deities, and the galaxy. Interconnectedness becomes an apparent theme of this performance.
In Lalibela, the dancers slowly process into a ceremony. The priestesses emerge from the top of the set creating a mystical illusion. Finally, we come face to face with three celestials as part one concludes in Return. Throughout Portals, drumming, chanting, and humming inspired by different cultures highlights the ritualistic dances. The set displays images and structures of deities, planetary alignments, religious symbols, and extraterrestrial beings to guide the audience in its storyline.
If that’s not reason enough to visit this Zikr’s performance, the second act opens with the highly anticipated piece Mobile, and it is a must see experience. As Tanaka, Faustino, and Crouch effortlessly move in parallelograms, you can hear the audience’s enthusiastic “wow”. Awe-inspiring is truly the best way to describe this piece. From the choreography to the execution by the dancers, it’s a truly professional number.
Looking into the history of the titles, you will find these titles have been carefully picked to reflect compositions, places, and signs that invoke devotion and faith. Many of which were crafted uniquely with naturally occurring elements. The Christian churches of Lalibela in Ethiopia were formed from living stone. Michelangelo’s Pieta was formed with the “most perfect” block of marble. The relations of natural elements to holy relics furthers the interconnected message.
Finally, we end with Sadhu, a cult-like piece flowing with the color red. Dancers slowly transform their movements and costumes as the piece evolves. Sadhu’s have a vast history across India and touch elements of different religions. In Hinduism, Sadhu’s are described as “Holy Men” who have left behind their possessions, comforts, and responsibilities to connect to the soul and universe. The dancers begin in unison, and as the piece goes on, there are almost unnoticeable changes until you find several dancers have evolved, concluding in a revision to otherworldliness.
It was incredibly interesting to be a member of the audience at Mysteries, Rites and Revelations at the Lone Tree Arts Center. This performance will challenge you to see the similarities between culture, religion, art, and those elements that make up humanity while grounding you to the earth, galaxy, and universe.
Patrice Harris is a new writer for Presenting Denver. Born and raised in Denver, Colorado, Patrice’s passion for the arts started at a young age. She participated in various forms of art, including theater, piano, and visual art.
Patrice attended Colorado State University in Fort Collins, where she received her Bachelor of Science in Health and Exercise Science, and Psychology. During her time at university, she continued to explore her passion for the arts by participating in various creative programs and events.
After graduation, Patrice began working as a Resident Services Coordinator at Mercy Housing, where she supported and empowered residents in need of services and resources. There she connected residents to dance with workshops from Cleo Parker Robinson Dance.
In 2022, Patrice began working at WellPower, where she coordinates facility improvements and engages in community relations. In her free time, Patrice continues to write dance reviews and explore her love for the arts.