Among those who habitually attend the performing arts, there’s a premium on the sense of wonder. What keeps the truly faithful returning to the theater night after night, year after year, and decade after decade is the hope that something will happen that’s not only beautiful, but also unfamiliar, amazing, and even inexplicable. When theatrical wonder like this hits, it’s a full-body experience that sends goose bumps down the arms and raises the hairs on the back of the neck.
Even after enjoying access to three separate rehearsals, Vim Vigor’s premiere of Future/Perfect on Friday struck me as just this kind of wild revelation. The sheer intensity of choreographer Shannon Gillen’s yearning for more of everything — more life, more danger, more awe — became manifest as the five performers tore through this molten composition. Part indie-film-like play and part immersive electronic music concert, Future/Perfect is nevertheless all about dance and the heat, physicality, and raw emotion that contemporary dance portrays so directly. When strong work like this reaches an audience ready to receive it, “wonder” shifts from being a noun that describes a collective experience to being a verb that conveys the active desire with which that audience leaves the theater — to know more, to be curious, to seek meaning in whatever life has to offer.