“The Sun Still Burns Here,” created and performed by choreographer Kate Wallich and her group the YC in collaboration with indie pop musician Perfume Genius (Mike Hadreas), is the kind of piece that might be great if you were on ecstasy and part of the show. It seems like a cool party: lots of making out, an orgy, tactile objects to investigate with your hands, a hazy atmosphere thanks to a fog machine and trippy music adding a permeation of aural pleasure.
Thomas House acts as a Gumby-like master of ceremonies for the evening, which takes place at the Walker Art Center and is copresented by the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra’s Liquid Music series. House begins the show with a tease of a dance, sneaking out of the curtain in a clownish burlesque style. With sloppy sexiness, he smirks at the audience as the curtain opens to a fantastical setup of filmy drapes and bodies.
The dream world, set to a live music score that’s both ethereal and jarring, is inhabited by performers following their bliss: one warms her hands by the heat of the footlights, another finds joy in a fan that blows her hair in every direction, still another becomes entranced by a curtain rope. These solitary explorations are then interrupted at times as the performers come together for more organized choreography. There are moments of precise technicality, simultaneity and even glimpses of ballet vocabulary. Suddenly they are performing lifts and turns, and these movements that are more recognizable as dance come as a relief. Then, they start humping each other again.
“A hot queer mess,” one audience member described the show after opening night, impressed.
Despite the wandering nature of the show’s arc, it remains engaging. Hadreas is particularly mesmerizing to watch, with his silky falsetto voice and wiry way of moving. He’s often elevated — either by standing on a scaffold structure, or lifted up by the other performers.
A lengthy erotic duet between Hadreas and Wallich takes place toward the end of the work. It begins with kissing simulation but gradually grows to be something much more intense, verging on violence. It’s one of many parts of the show that put the audience in the role of voyeur. It’s that moment at the party where you feel it’s probably time to make your exit.
The Sun Still Burns Here
When: 8 p.m. Sat.
Where: Walker Art Center, 725 Vineland Pl., Mpls.
Tickets: $25, 612-375-7600, walkerart.org
Sheila Regan is a Twin Cities dance reviewer.