Who knew chores could be so…entertaining? Alli Jones and the Nosilla Dance Project certainly seem to think so! A real-life reprieve from real life, Chaos Theory (as it relates to family) finds joy and humor in the typically mundane. Directed and choreographed by Alli Jones, Chaos Theory enjoyed a three-day run at The Dairy Arts Center, November 9, 10, & 11, 2018.
The series of twelve short pieces, each separate in topic, came together to illustrate not just a story, but a life. Most of the pieces were christened with two titles: one relating to the content of the piece, and one relating to the Chaos Theory in its full mathematical glory. The first piece, entitled Our Meeting – Initial Conditions and performed by Kate Vermillion Lyons and Alli Jones herself, depicted the meeting, courtship, and engagement of two people. According to the Chaos Theory, which is a mathematical sub-specialty, any minute change in “initial conditions” will lead to an entirely different outcome in a complex system (such as weather). This change in outcome is known as the “Butterfly Effect.” Which leads us to the second piece in the show, one about a wedding, one called “I Do” – Butterfly Effect. From there, real life– and chaos– ensue.
The choreography in Chaos Theory was quirky, fun, engaging, and unexpected. The group pieces were delightful to watch and contained ultra-satisfying moments in which brooms were manipulated in perfect synchronicity, or a couple danced under a parachute flung towards the rafters. But Alli Jones truly excels in the creation of duets. King Size Preferred – Feedback Loops, performed by Luciana Lua and Kate Vermillion Lyons, was a brilliant study in the imagery of trying to sleep while being overcrowded on a too-small bed. Not to mention Secret Recipe – Edge of Chaos, the indulgent duet all about baking performed by Kate Vermillion Lyons and Amanda Segro. In all cases, the dancers nailed the comedic timing and their partnering work moved seamlessly from one space to the next.
The lighting by Craig Bushman was stunning, as always. It particularly shone in A Walk with You – Control of Chaos, in which Alli Jones and Kate Vermillion Lyons took a starlit walk. The starlight was, of course, courtesy of Mr. Bushman. The costumes all made sense, enhancing the portrayal of each “mundane” task. In particular, the costumes in Static Cling and Sparkle and Shine – Deterministic, created by Alli Jones, Lindsey Sharp, and Radhika Thapa, lent a magical quality to the works through the use of sponges, tulle, and rubber gloves.
The evening was an experience that never let go of its audience. During moments of set-up, Carol Channing’s “Housework” was played and at intermission, a robot vacuum with a stuffed dog attached roamed the stage. Moments like these, combined with the charming choreography running rampant throughout the performance, seemed to give “real life” a fairytale quality.
The number of props required to pull off Chaos Theory was astounding! From mounds of clothing to drown in and spray bottles of cleaning liquid, to toys and a laptop, all the way down to bottles of nail polish, the props all played their parts in clever ways. The inclusion of so many props not only made the production relatable to its audience, it provided room to think more deeply about life and home and the tasks required to make one. Chaos Theory made chores feel like fun. And perhaps they can be, if we choose to make them so.
If Nosilla Dance Project should ever bring Chaos Theory (as it relates to family) back, don’t pass it up! Keep track of the Nosilla Dance Project on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/nosilladanceproject/
Jessica Riggs is the Director of Life/Art Dance Ensemble, a 501(c)3 registered nonprofit dance company that focuses on artistic collaboration and making the arts more accessible. She possesses Bachelors degrees in both Dance and Dietetics from Colorado State University, as well as a Masters degree in Food Science and Human Nutrition. In addition to Life/Art’s productions, Jessica’s choreography has been featured in Ascential Dance Theatre’s Assemblage, Transition Theater’s Kali Creates Fate, GAMMA-UT’s New Music Festival at the University of Texas, the Dairy Arts Center’s Women in Classical Music Soundscape concert, and in Prague at the American Music Festival in collaboration with Stratus Chamber Orchestra. Jessica also dances with Cindy Brandle Dance Company and the Lost Walks Band and teaches dance classes at the Lakewood Cultural Center.