NoHoArtsDistrict.Com Review "Fantasm - 1001 Nights"
The Assistance League Playhouse must be one of, if not the largest, venues involved in the Hollywood Fringe at 328 seats and it’s a really beautiful, historic building - a hidden gem. So it’s probably the perfect venue for such a large, ambitious and impressive show as “Fantasm - 1001 Nights.”
More than 20 dancers from all over the world dressed in exquisite and wildly inventive costumes telling the iconic story of 1001 Nights. The framework of the story is this; an Arabian King who, upon finding his wife has been unfaithful, kills her and then in his madness of grief and anger marries virgin after virgin, spending one night with them and then killing them too…gruesome.
The story really beings when his latest bride, to save her own life, begins to tell him a story, the story of Sinbad, and refuses to complete the tale unless he spares her. He relents, mesmerized by the story, and she manages to keep him fascinated enough not to kill her for 1001 nights. After which he is so in love with her that he never could. How romantic!
As the princess tells her story the truly incredible dancers of Bellydance Evolution dance out her tale and we follow Sinbad through his seven voyages. He meets giant birds fighting gigantic snakes, mermaids and beautiful sea creatures under the waves, a giant whale mistaken as an island, supernatural seahorses, strange, hungry black monsters, and a beautiful woman who he marries and then who mysteriously and tragically dies.
All these wonderful stories are so artfully and brilliantly choreographed it quite took my breath away. The dancers are absolutely superb, not just belly dancing but balletic, powerful and magical to watch. I have never seen such incredible command of the stage and their inventive and exquisite technique was just brilliant.
So many dancers, so many incredible costumes, and a relentless and mesmerizing performance of an ancient story beautifully and joyfully portrayed.
It’s such a shame that they only had the two performances during The Fringe, but they are constantly touring and I urge you, if you have an opportunity to see them it is something that absolutely should not be missed. Bravo!!!
BellyDance Evolution perform all over the world and feature the best artists in the fields of Middle Eastern dance & music, Tahitian dance, free-style, contemporary, tribal-fusion and ballet; each bringing their own unique vision to the production.