In 1982 David Parsons premiered Caught, a work that he performed himself. Almost instantly it became a masterpiece of modern dance. Using simple light cues and a strobe Caught features more than 100 leaps in six minutes by a solo dancer who is repeatedly trapped in mid-motion by the strobe lights, to create an illusion of flight. It has been performed thousands of times worldwide, for nearly thirty years.
The video below does not do justice to the piece, it just gives an overall feeling of what it looks like. In the mid 90s I saw it live for the first time. What the video below is missing is how all your senses are engaged when seen in a theater. You sit in absolute darkness and every time the strobe comes on you see an even more incredible leap frozen in time. You wonder how on earth Parsons can time the leaps with such precision while in the dark. You hear the breathing accelerating as the piece goes on, you hear the loud steps with every landing and jump, you are well aware that what you are looking at seems like magic but is indeed a man working very hard. It is mesmerizing. I’ve seen the piece live 5 times over the years and every time, no matter the audience or location at the end everyone erupts in applause.
A few weeks back a Tron-inspired dance by the Wrecking Crew Orchestra made the rounds. This new routine by the Japanese dance team relies on specially-designed suits covered with wireless, light-emitting strings that can be controlled remotely. As soon as I saw it I thought of Caught.
The dancers behind both of these pieces work hard, and have a few tricks up their sleeves, to create amazing dance illusions. It is easy to see that there is direct conceptual connection between the two, becuase, as I always say here, everything is a remix.