By Merilyn Jackson
Zon-Mai. It means home in French slang – maison backwards, but (appropriately) it also sounds like my zone in reverse. Everything about this film installation is turned inside out and upended with 21 dancers from 10 countries allowing us a peek at their intimate domains.
Each is an emigrant from somewhere else, and choreographer Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui set dances on them in their current places, to perform in their bedrooms and bathrooms, under their tables, on their windowsills. Larbi and cameraman Gilles Delmas try to discover what home means when you have to set up far away from the home you knew.
The installation is shaped like a house made of screens, and the projections on it are like windows through which we can spy.
Akram Khan, who now lives and choreographs in the UK, and who was seen in Live Arts in 2003, dances in his narrow foyer, spinning tightly within its confines. Shantala Shivalingappa's arms can't cut through the glass doors to her balcony. A contortionist in green gym shorts tears up his living room floor. A dancer with long black hair combed over her face slices through the veil with her hands. Some screens are cut into quadrants so you can view four dancers at a time. On others, you can watch just one, but those larger-than-life images overwhelm and lose their intimacy.
Fittingly, this is your chance to see the new, permanent home of Live Arts Festival in the former Pumping Station across from Race Street Pier Park on Columbus Blvd. No more nomadic life for Live Arts.