Choreographer Deborah Jinza Thayer recently visited South Beach, Florida, the glitzy playground for the rich and famous—and found inspiration for All That Glitters, premiering in early October at the Southern Theater. Thayer had been considering a work about aging when she noticed the women wearing "little shorts, dippy tops, and heels" and conspicuous "bling" while displaying their latest plastic surgery results. "It's not just superficial," observes Thayer in a recent interview. "It's profoundly disturbing."
Thayer isn't content, however, to rant about fake beauty. Now she's exploring the "human desire to go toward shiny objects—like a baby goes toward keys—and how that instinct dissolves into greed, adornment, and hierarchy." In the work, which features a score by Tom Scott and yards of 3M iridescent film, the performers unleash their lust for pretty things only to discover that the more they accumulate the more distorted their bodies become—like Veruca Salt in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. It's a cautionary tale but, as in many of Thayer's works, there's humor as well.
Social commentary is evident in other pieces on Thayer's program as well, including "Bizarre Mating Ritual," a precursor to a larger work about cloning, and a reprise of 2004's "Meet the Nation." Originally created in response to the presidential debates that year, the dance resonates as we re-enter the election cycle. Four gibberish-spouting performers in suits jostle one another within hive-like cages, jockeying for position as Christopher Cunningham's score propels their need to communicate. The resemblance to the real-life political circus is unsettling. $18. 8:00 pm. Southern Theater, 1420 Washington Ave S, Mpls; 612.340.1725. Thu-Sat Oct 4-6.