Halloween 2014 may be officially dead and buried, but autumn leaves continue to blow in the chilly breeze, and there are plenty of spooky stories to tell before happier holidays arrive. Choreographer Kristin Bihler, who imagines herself as something of an outsider in the Memphis dance community, has revived two older works and created new material for her latest installment of A Dark Night in the Cathedral, a project she originally launched nine years ago, and has been developing since.
"People have called what I do dark jazz," Bihler says. "When people hear 'jazz' they think of [Bob] Fosse and big jazz hands. That's not what I do."
Bihler, who has enlisted the aid of 23 area dancers, thinks of herself as a storyteller working in an immersive medium. The tales she's assembled for Dark Night are "torn" from her personal journals and function as a kind of morality play, as characters face real-world temptations that have been given a dark fantasy twist in an environment where potions are brewed, cemeteries are visited, and a bitter fallen angel plays the violin.
"I guess I've got a lot of Disney in me," Bihler says, describing her compulsion to develop environments and bombard audiences with images and sound from the moment they walk in the door. She also warns that A Dark Night in the Cathedral may not be suited for younger kids, especially those who are uncomfortable spending extended periods of time in the dark.
"There have been some tears," she says of previous versions of the show, all of which have sold out.