On Friday, March 4, 2022, I attended the performance of a very promising new company Volta Collective presented In Liquid Light at the beautiful Museum of Neon Art (MONA) in Glendale, California. Co-founded by Directors Mamie Green and Megan Paradowski, Volta Collective is a dance theatre company based in Los Angeles. On this night there were seven dancers who performed outside and inside MONA to an original soundscape by Nicolas Snyder and following the performance, the audience was treated to the music by DJ Teh Raptor in MONA’s Sign Garden. In addition, the audience was treated to some of MONA’s extraordinary collection of neon sculptures, signs, artifacts, clocks, equipment, photographs and more.
Although this site-specific work was only a half an hour long, and the performance space limited to relatively small rooms with fragile neon art work that needed to be avoided, the cast of In Liquid Light demonstrated that their physical strength and choreography deserves to be seen.
The weakest section occurred outdoors in front of MONA to music by Snyder. The movement appeared arbitrary and although I was standing just feet away from the four dancers (Ashley Kayombo, Win McCain, Melody Morrow, and Nat Wilson), not all of them projected their spoken word so that it could be heard while others literally shouted.
Once inside the lobby of MONA, however, the choreography and performance level demonstrated by Mamie Green, Allie Miks, and Meg Paradowski wearing colors to reflect the bright neon signs around them, provided a deeper look into the excellent work one might see in the future from Volta Collective. The movement was strong, bold and yet fluid just like what one sees throughout the museum. Beginning by performing separate solos, the three eventually came together for a supported lift and led the audience into the next performance area.
We were shown into a smaller area to observe Kayombo perform a brief solo before she was joined by Paradowski for a stronger duet complete with separate and unison movements and lifts. A final traveling lift directed the audience into a larger room lined with amazing neon signs and sculptures including a string of airplanes that appeared to soar across the space via sequential lighting. In Liquid Light continued to feature individual solos, a male duet (McCain and Wilson) that was very physical yet fluid, and a concluding group section with the dancers once again verbalizing.
Snyder’s soundscape included testimonials from individuals who are “uniquely connected” to the neon signs which the collective used selected text to incorporate into their movement. While dancers awaited their turn to reenter the central performance area, their costume colors and the poses that they struck and/or moved through helped blend their bodies into the artwork.
Here 30 minutes was just the right amount of time for the audience not to become fatigued from standing but long enough for them to want more. I was intrigued.
To visit Volta’s website, please click HERE.
To learn more about the Museum of Neon Art in Glendale, please visit their website.
Written by Jeff Slayton for LA Dance Chronicle.
Featured image: Volta Collective – In Liquid Light at MONA – Photo by LADC