Review: ‘iLuminate’ Lights Up New World Stages
By Mercedes Vizcaino, Contributing Writer, December 2, 2016
iLuminate is back at New World Stages this holiday season. Although, there’s nothing Christmas-y about this show — it’s back with a reincarnation of new music and choreography. This exhilarating spectacle fuses customized wireless lighting effects technology embedded into the black suits of the dancers, as they perform in the dark to wildly entertaining contemporary, old-skool hip-hop and Latin music. Granted, you will be in the dark for the whole show (minus intermission), but it’s a worthwhile compromise—given that you’ll be mesmerized by extraordinary special effects and exemplary choreographed dance moves in a constant frenzied pace.
The opening sequence begins with the blaring sounds of KRS One’s “Sound of Da Police” and introduces the audience to Lt. Calhoune (Simon Mendoza), a pivotal character who anchors the narrative throughout the show. The plot centers on Jacob (Charles Way)—a talented young artist who struggles to connect with the real world, taking comfort in his magical paintbrush which grants him the power to turn characters in his imagination into living, breathing beings. When a jealous townsperson, steals the paintbrush and turns his endearing creations into horrifying monsters, abducts his girlfriend, and leaves him defeated, Jacob must find the strength to combat his rival. The narrative does not clearly emerge and dialogue is practically non-existent in the show; yet you still follow the story through interpretative dance. And that in itself is an experience – with waves of techno beats, classical music, Argentinean Tango and sultry R&B songs stimulating your senses. This mish-mosh of musical genres blend well. The creators of the show inject medleys of Michael and Janet Jackson’s past hits, arcade light visuals of Pac-man and Simon Says games, along with impressive break-dancing routines. It’s evident the creators of this piece came-of-age in the 80s and 90s, and have a nostalgic fondness for that era.
Miral Kotb, founder, producer and director of iLuminate has been in the spotlight before when she and her work was featured on the television show “America’s Got Talent.” As a former engineer, software developer, choreographer and dancer, Miral discovered a way to combine all her passions into one with iLuminate. Kotb’s collaboration with playwright Athena Sunga brings this talented dance troupe together once again, solidifying the act’s success. Grammy-winning artists such as Christina Aguilera and The Black-Eyed Peas have used iLuminate’s patented technology in their own performances.
This international show has universal appeal, which includes interactive games and audience participation. Theatregoers as young as 5-years old are randomly selected to come onto the stage and partake in the fun. With the vast array of entertainment options available in New York City, this 90-minute unique show has something for everyone.
The shows runs through January 8, 2017. For information on performances or to buy tickets click here.