With a name like the 24rd Triannual Intronational Dance Competition, absurdity was to be expected. And the event did not disappoint in the ridiculous department. The interpretive dance-off at the Mercury Cafe featured a juggling unicyclist, a girl in a bubble-wrap gown and many people unafraid to roll around on the ground in the name of charity and interpretive dance.
All the proceeds from the night went to GrowHaus, an indoor urban farm dedicated to providing food to low income families. After a brief mention of the cause at the beginning of the evening, though, it was all about the dance. Rather than judging based on traditional categories like poise, posture or timing, the judges went with more bizarre criteria that included emotional vulnerability, hand animal usage and sparkliness, among others.
At its best, the evening was hilarious and engaging. Spandex-clad contestants Courtney and Therese performed spirited dances and showcased their abilities to do backbends and the splits. Another dancer, Piper, did a particularly inspired interpretive dance that involved sprinkling yellow rose petals and throwing a black toy horse into the audience. It was engaging enough to win her the mysteriously-titled "Relativity" category.
But when it was at its worst, the evening dragged on a little too long. Seeing a dude jump around to "MMMBop" got tiring after the novelty of the passé pop song wore off and there was nothing more to the performance than, well, a dude jumping around. One of the judges agreed, holding up a cryptic sign that read "pathos lacking" after this particularly lackluster act. In the same vein was a guy who called himself Plural and simply pulled his shirt over his head while rolling around on the ground. Later he mixed it up by pounding on the floor with his fist. Despite the tedious acts, the interesting ones made up for it. The girl in the bubble wrap dress put on an engaging performance that won her the "Emotional Vulnerability" category as she ripped off her homemade gown while writhing on the ground.
Perhaps the most fun part of the night, though, were the non-competitive interludes performed by sideshow duo Lolo and Warren. Warren performed circus feats like juggling knives and shooting darts out of nasal cavities, while Lolo did an enthralling dance to Tiny Tim's "Tiptoe Through The Tulips" while balancing fake flowers on her nose. At a high point in the evening, Lolo grabbed an assistant from the audience to help throw marshmallows into her mouth while she rode a unicycle. After having the audience member practice throwing on her stunt double, a sex doll, Lolo mercilessly made fun of her volunteer for his poor aim. "It's my fault," she lamented. "I picked you." That woman should have her own variety show.
At the end of the night, winners in each category were presented with dumpstered trophies, and spandex-wearing Therese took home the main prize. But really, the awards didn't seem to matter much. The night seemed to be just an excuse for people to get weird, dance and support a good cause.