It all starts quite peacefully, costumes sitting on sawhorses, empty heads, gorgeously dressed, hindquarters draped and sweeping onto the floor. People begin to hang around the edge of the corral; bits of straw are strewn across the floor.
There is time to admire the magnificent architecture of the Vanderbilt Hall at Grand Central.
Time even to make a little sketch. The harpist comes out to tune her instrument. Then the drummer arrives. The dancers are penned in behind doors, doing the loosening up neck rolling leg bending arm stretching thing dancers do before a show.
The dancers stride in, take their positions at the sawhorses, and help each other into the shaggy costumes; half of them fit their heads into the horses' heads.
Their partners connect and become their back ends.
And suddenly there are horses everywhere. Quietly, slowly, they are coming to life as if under the enchantment of the harp. They paw the ground, shake their tails, as the sawhorses are removed. And then they tour the ring, warming up, stretching, as horses do before a show.
The children are mesmerized, some reach out to touch the shaggy psychedelic coats.
The drummer kicks in, hard, and suddenly the horses begin to move faster. The children shriek with excitement and fear. Some break down and sob. The horses become wild.
The horse bodies break apart, and suddenly there are small dervish creatures whirling ecstatically across the floor, a blur of color everywhere.
A wash of color, of sound, of emotion. The people have become horses. The horses have become dervishes. The children have become spellbound. The adults have become children.
Everything is becoming something else. That is magic.
Only this week. Only at 11 and 2. Don't miss it if you are in New York City. And thank you, Nick Cave, for a spellbinding half hour.