WAS BLACK. The title is a loose translation of the Russian: “Cherno” means “black” and “byl” means “was”. The Long Beach Museum of Art and musician Don Preston helped in this visual, studio-produced evocation of the Chernobyl disaster. As the dancers create an atmosphere of an all-pervasive menace and fear, Rosenthal, dressed in elegant black as a white-faced Russian cabaret singer, sings a Russian folk song and employs primal intonations to summon the emotional content of the juxtaposed images. The ubiquitous danger climaxes until, showered with salt and wrapped in Christmas lights, Rosenthal remains a lone and ominous beacon as the stage lights dim.