Stepping Out

Uncovering nature's treasures in 'The Unhidden'

Local dance company sets the barre high

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Choreographer Martha Graham once famously said, “Dance is the language of the soul.” At its most sublime, dance connects audiences with true emotion. That emotional connection will captivate audiences in “The Unhidden,” an immersive live dance event, created by Moving On, the North Shore’s new dance/arts company.

Local audiences can experience “The Unhidden” this weekend and next, Oct 11-13 and Oct. 18-20, at Glenwood Life Center in Glenwood Landing.

“The Unhidden introduces dance to the general public in a way they’ve never seen before,” says Nicole Loizides, 42, of Glen Cove, Moving On’s choreographer, director and co-founder. “There’s no storyline to follow, no beginning or end. No characters or names. We want people to take away what they artistically see.”

The production uses a combination of dance, gymnastics and life-sized puppetry to blur the lines between dance and visual arts, as the audience is taken on an elegant and energetic trip through the natural world.

From the moment you enter, you’ll be immersed in the magic of what’s to come.

“The audience will be ushered through three rooms of live art culminating in a world of movement representing the five elements: Earth, Wind, Fire, Water and Energy,” says Loizides.

“For the first 45 minutes people can have a cocktail or mocktail, mingle and take pictures with some of the dancers who make their way through the space and slowly start introducing a dream-like atmosphere. This gives people a chance to unplug.”

From there everyone passes through another installation and into the main performance space, which Loizides has designed with a very specific goal in mind.

“As people come in it feels like they are coming across a secret garden. The room is dressed like a briar patch and is covered with 3,000 feet of vines. As soon as the audience sits down they’re already amongst a forest of dancers performing slow motion movement.”

For the next hour, the dancers take audiences on a journey of movement inspired by those five elements. In one piece, two beautiful twin dancers perform with lights that connect to the energy around them. Another performer dances in a fire themed sequence waving around two flags that ultimately extends her body over 70 feet long.

One of the most notable performances eatures Loizides spining for six minutes straight throughout the room with a glowing orb the texture of the moon.

“I’ve become known for that whirling dervish, faster, more dynamic movement,” she says.

“Nicole is a master of spinning. She has the almost inhuman quality when she’s turning you’re thinking how is this possible,” says 27-year-old dancer, Heather Conn, of Locust Valley. “It’s magical how she sweeps you up into her performance. She’s so flawless you forget you are watching a dancer.”

One of nine dancers in “The Unhidden,” Conn has been with the company for about a year and finds the immersive element very rewarding. “The audiences don’t just watch dancers on the stage. They’re invited into a world we’re setting for them. It’s intimate and engaging.”

A vibrant array of props and costumes infuse the production with an ethereal beauty and playfulness, according to Loizides.

Umbrella structures are built to look like plants. Dresses look like lilies. In perhaps one of the most spectacular numbers, four life-sized jellyfish puppets drop from the ceiling and dance in black light. Loizides is quick to point out these aren’t just merely sock puppets.

“If you can, imagine puppets more like the Lion King. The jellyfish puppets are six feet long and our dancers operate them.”

This is one of Conn’s favorite pieces to perform. “It makes it a richer experience to dance with something like a puppet,” she says.

The puppets were passed down to Moving On from Hat Rabbit Studio in Brooklyn, which creates props and costumes for Broadway shows. Other props and costumes are created by Loizides herself.

As a dancer, Loizides has performed with Ballet Hispanico and Momix, among other renowned companies. In 2014 she realized her dream when she was tasked as an associate choreographer for the opening ceremonies of the Sochi Olympics.

About a year ago, Loizides founded Moving On with her husband Lou Albruzzese, formerly a technical director for The Joyce and Apollo theaters in New York City. “The Unhidden” is Moving On’s first local event. “This is more of an experience than just a show. It might open people’s eyes and expand their experience with not just dance but art in general,” says Conn.

The Unhidden

When: Oct. 11-13 and Oct. 18-20, 7 p.m.; doors open at 6:45 p.m.

Where: Glenwood Life Center 71 Grove St. Glenwood Landing. Visit https://www.eventbrite.com/e/the-unhidden-tickets-62696600219 for tickets and information.