Planet Moves 

The balls are supposed to hit the ground.

The SF-based dance troupe Capacitor has tackled some big topics since its 1997 debut: space travel, technology, evolution, digestion. With Digging in the Dark, the group uses its signature fusion of aerial dance, martial arts, circus, and large-scale props to explore its most solid subject yet -- the Earth. The third creation of the Capacitor Lab, Digging in the Dark is the cross-disciplinary baby of a musical composer, three geophysicists, an engineer/inventor, a mathematician, video artists, a costume designer, and a group of motion-capture animators, all working with the Capacitor crew since January to draw connections between the unseen layers beneath our feet and the ones behind our eyes.

Digging in the Dark, choreographed by artistic director Jodi Lomask, features some new devices created especially for the program. "We've built a seventeen-and-a-half-foot dress, which two of the performers are going to be wearing," Lomask says. "We wanted to experiment with MIDI triggers and having the performers instigate video and sound and lighting, so we've created a juggling platform where every time the ball hits the grounds, it triggers things." For the record, this is bounce juggling -- the balls are aimed down, not up, so the balls are supposed to hit the ground. Thursday through Sunday, you can participate in a "beta test" for Digging, wherein the audience's comments will shape the work's final incarnation at its San Francisco premiere in spring next year. "It's different from going to a show and being handed a performance," Lomask explains, "with a 'take what you want and leave the rest' kind of attitude. We want to know, really, how it hits the audience, and the audience is going to know that they're influencing the future of the work. It's not like, 'here's my show and if you don't like it, that's your problem.' This performance is meant to communicate to you." The shows happen at 8 p.m. at the Alice Arts Theater, 1428 Alice St., Oakland. Tickets: $15 general, $10 students. 510-268-9808 or Capacitor.org for reservations and information.

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