January 28th @ Showbox SoDo
Review by Gabrielle Gribbin
Photos by Geoffrey Gribbin
The tattoos on her back come alive with the flex of her muscles. Opening the show hidden by a mask of red, white, and black – covering her foot is a single nude dance shoe.
As the banjo is played, Zoe Jakes begins to twirl; light glistens off of her jeweled brassiere, the light trickles down to her flowing red skirt and once the turning leaves you too dizzy with pleasure her smoky eyes captivate you once again.
The sound transforms into a heavy undertone of bass while the saxophone plays a smooth drawn-out note. The set behind them is picturesque, emanating a jagged Asian mountain, all the while the clarinet fills the air with a haunting sound akin to a twisted snake charming jazz ascending with tempo.
When Jakes jumps to center stage she seems to be a warrior using a drum as her voice, shouting, “More!” to the throng while she points to each instrument, commanding them to play. She is their conductor.
As the next song starts Jakes and two others come tip toeing out with a plume of black feathers laying about their backs, taking form of peacocks; they sway strongly, their bellies contract with ease. Jakes is in the middle with a set of deer antlers atop her head with a dancer on each side, attached to her white, pure skirt. The other two dancers hide themselves with feathers, pulsate the feathers to the quickening beat. Jakes looks to the crowd – one word comes to mind. Temptress.
The two women now have teal feathers, they dance, and mirroring each other’s movements they are as sisters, knowing one another precisely. One wears a mask covering only her mouth, while the other’s face is completely covered, when suddenly behind the veil of feathers the two switch masks as the drums hum with a fading echoing sound.
With each song a new dance begins, this time a sheet comes into view from stage right until they reach the center. Jakes’ hands now come to us, beckoning “come to me.” A light is shone so only a silhouette remains. She is captivating, hypnotizing. With each turn the clarinet player comes closer, he plays as a snake charmer would, a puppet master to her movements. Her steps seem to be set to a fast-forward and rewind motion.
In this moment everyone seems to close their eyes, to fall silent to this vibrating bass. It sways the venue; we at this moment seem to be one.
Once again we are lifted from this spell with a ray of yellow light. The light is now positioned behind Jakes, surrounding her whole body, illuminating her stomach while it relaxes and tenses in periodic tight waves while the other dancers encircle her in unison. The music elevates as each belly dancer takes turns soloing, holding necessary space for one another.
In awe of the moments that we all had witnessed a second skipped before the crowd registered to applaud. If the dedication it takes to master belly dancing wasn’t enough to get the crowd roaring then the harmonious beats made by all three musicians was the constant fuel to the uproar. To be described as visually and sensationally pleasing to everyone witnessing this art would still not fully describe the past hour and a half. David Satori, Tommy Cappel, and Zoe Jakes performed in flawless unison for a show that no one in the crowd could forget.