CACTI Witty, facetious, and nonsensical at times, Swedish choreographer Alexander Ekman’s Cacti (2010), brings to light a choreographer’s reaction to having received a negative review from a critic. With its rhythmic, tribal beats mixed with classical music from the likes of Schubert, Hayden, and Beethoven, this dance is relentlessly driven by a string quartet. Sixteen dancers in flesh-toned costumes, a metaphor for the exposed feeling a choreographer experiences when being reviewed publicly for the works he creates; the cacti a palpable reminder of the prickly feelings a critic may have about a piece—or the post-review feelings an artist may feel. Cleverly using movement, lighting effects, and the dancers as instruments themselves, Ekman employs his ensemble in a series of kinetic canons. In the more narrative second half of Cacti, the audience is made privy to the inner thoughts a critic could be having. Intentionally poking fun at the agenda critics have, and the result of having influenced readers as to what to believe a work is about. Ekman uses humor to give his audience plenty to consider while attending a performance…and reading reviews.