Alice in raveland

Club Lust

Skillful and exotic ballet combines with glow sticks and break-dancing in <i>Club Lust</i>.<br>

Skillful and exotic ballet combines with glow sticks and break-dancing in Club Lust.

Photo by David Robert

Raves are elusive. They spring up in remote locations, without benefit of corporate sponsorship or radio advertisements. Yet somehow, the ravers know. They find each other, drawn magnetically to the pulsating techno music. They twirl their glow sticks and dance with abandon while the rest of the world sleeps. The culture that flows from these rave experiences is widespread, but mainly underground.

Millennium Performing Arts is lifting the shroud of mystery and inviting the rest of the world to experience the beauty and spirit of the rave. For the second year in a row, the company is transforming Reno’s Brüka Theatre into Club Lust.

The newest incarnation of Club Lust uses music and movement to dramatize three young women’s adventures in rave dancing. Nomie (Onnoleigh Sweetman) is an experienced clubber delving into the alternate reality of cyberspace. Alice (Sarah Roulias) is a young girl at her first rave. Layla (Amber Balliet) is a sexual goddess exploring her powers.

For Roulias, Alice was the perfect role. Like her character, Roulias was naïve to the ways of the rave prior to Club Lust.

“Dance has always been a big part of my life …” Roulias says, “but I had never seen or done anything like this before.”

In the show, Alice’s foray into the rave unfolds Wonderland-style, complete with Mad Hatter (Tom Stille), White Rabbit (Jill Snyder) and a magic pill.

“Alice is an innocent character who gets somewhat corrupted,” Roulias says. “At the end, she’s happy and becomes part of the club scene. I feel like I’ve been drawn in myself, and I’m definitely happy about it, but I don’t feel I’ve been corrupted.”

Other dancers joined Club Lust as a natural extension of their recreational dance. Chelsea Phillips, who has been with Millennium since its inception, arrived at her audition with glow sticks and a four-minute techno soundtrack. She enjoyed attending raves, but had not thought of it as a performance art until she discovered Millennium.

“This has been such a great opportunity,” Phillips says. “I’ve met great people with all kinds of backgrounds and dance experience. I’ve learned a lot here.”

Choreographer Amber Balliet is a classically trained dancer with a creative streak, and she has taken care to incorporate the performers’ individual talents into the show. Belly dancing, poi, breakdancing and ballet all make appearances.

Balliet recently attended her first rave with her Millennium castmates. What she saw confirmed that Club Lust was on the right track with its conglomeration of dance styles.

“There’s a certain spirit about [the rave],” Balliet says. “It’s about freedom and self expression.”

This year’s Club Lust is taking more risks than last year’s performance, thanks in part to the warm reception the show received last year. Due to sex and drug references, all performances are adults-only.

Audiences can expect a bold, sexy adventure set to the racy lyrics of Lords of Acid and the hypnotic beats of DJ Johnno. The music will continue after the show is through, so audience members swept up in the spirit may partake in some rave dancing of their own.