The Kansas City-based performing arts group is about to break out on an international stage.
On a midsummer night in the Ozark mountains, at last year's Wakarusa Music and Arts festival, something strange emerged from the darkness. Around midnight, just after My Morning Jacket played the main stage and right before a set by techno-king Bassnectar, fans saw a burst of pure, white light. A stage appeared. The crowd was blasted by music. Cavernous drums, bass, and eerie fiddle echoed to the stars like some primitive call to prayer.
Two women in scant, white, gauzy costumes appeared, as though conjured by the sound. Bathed in light turning from pink to purple, to baby blue, surrounded by green lasers splintered into endless shards by mirror tiles, the dancers climbed onto a silver contraption nicknamed "the blender," that's somewhere between a cage and metal pretzel. The structure was lifted by wires, and the women started climbing and posing on it, dangerously high above the musicians.
Just then, a festival fan wandered up, newly bought beer in his hand. In his early 20s, with stringy blonde hair and mouth agape, he walked to the soundboard. For a moment, he stared at the wild scene on stage where the dancers were twirling faster. Roiling, writhing, they built momentum as the band thundered towards crescendo. The fan turned to the mixing board crew and asked loudly of no one in particular, "What is this?"