In a suspended, transparent pool above the stage where usually ballerinas and divas tread, water nymphs writhed and slammed. Fuerza Bruta transformed the Ziff Opera House of Miami’s Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts into a rave spectacle for its opening performance last night. A businessman sprinting on a treadmill burst through a paper brick wall. A DJ blew horns and sprayed the audience, assembled on the theater’s stage, with water. The dancers wandered the crowd breaking pieces of styrofoam over audience members’ heads. Fuerza Bruta is an interactive, multimedia theatrical experience, brought to you by the one of the Argentine founders of the similarly high-tech, high-flying De La Guarda.
The pool was the most spectacular of several giant props/set pieces. Fuerza Bruta — Spanish for brute force — is experiential theater. A giant piece of plastic canvas danced above the audience’s heads, rippling and cracking like thunder. The pool slowly lowered to an arm’s reach; patrons pressed their hands against the plastic as the mischievous dancers rubbed their bodies on the other side. Sure, this was soft-core water-sports fantasy stuff — until the women began throwing their bodies hard against the pool floor, creating more thunder.
This is a big, technical production, but the company also achieves simple effects with mere changes in lighting. It feels like a party, but like we’re dancing at the end of the earth too. The businessman gets shot, twice. Those nymphs keep crashing into the floor/ceiling.
The show was not even an hour long, which was a relief, since you have to stand for the whole thing, craning your neck to see the pool overhead. Still, if I had paid $75, I would have felt a little cheated. Everyone is invited to stay and dance afterwards in the G Lounge that caterer extraordinaire Barton G has created in the backstage and loading dock area. It could make it a fun night on the town, if the Arsht can figure out how to lure Miami’s party-hearty club scene. For half that ticket price, they could have a hit on their hands.