A new immersive dance show playing near Downtown San Diego is challenging audiences to look beyond the expected.
“Beyond Babel” is about the division of families, friends and a community of people as authorities decide to build a wall between them.
“Trying to face the division that is happening in our culture right now, and wanting to take that head-on, and find a way to use art to connect people,” said co-creator and star Mari Madrid.
Mari and her husband Keone Madrid have made a name for themselves as both choreographers and performers, and they came in second place during Season one of NBC’s “World of Dance.”
“We walked away feeling a sense of confidence, and since then we’ve been sprinting,” Keone said.
The Carlsbad couple started working on “Beyond Babel” two years ago.
“But in the last couple months, it’s ramped up tenfold,” Keone said. “We didn’t just decide to make a show and a unique show, but we had to make this theater.”
The theatre is located on Imperial Avenue, in what used to be a boxing gym.
“It’s really unsuspecting from the street. You see a house and now there’s all this interesting paint and muraling going on, and it’s like, huh, I wonder what’s back there. But then you walk around and there’s this big building that you wouldn’t think is back there,” Mari said.
Producing partners Josh and Lyndsay Magid Aviner with Brooklyn-based “Hideaway Circus” furnished the space with old movie theater seats and curtains from a one-night-only “Comedy Central” special in Los Angeles.
For the set pieces, they turned to friend and crochet artist London Kaye.
Lyndsay was also able to realize her dream of creating moving seats, that Keone said, allow the audience to “punch-in and punch-out.”
“A lot of our dance videos, you get to punch-in close to get a close-up of our hands, or you get to see the emotion and feel that. And in a theatre show, you’re always so far away,” Keone said.
“We want to be close. We want to really get in there with people,” Mari said.
“Beyond Babel” is playing through the end of November.