In Mixed Company (photo by Frédéric Chais)
The Density of Moments
by Chad Dembski, Editor - Dance
The first piece presented in a double bill of works that opens Tangente's season, Densité d'un moment, is a 30 minute six-person performance from recent Université de Québec à Montréal (UQAM) dance graduates. The piece explores the density of a moment, how it is experienced differently by each person in that moment, both the active participant and the observer.
One is first hit, before the show even begins, by the high amount of theatrical smoke pouring into the space. It was so dense and intense it was actually hard to see the other side of the space at times and led to deeper curiosity of what awaited. Instantly I was struck by the tall, sharp spears of light filling the space and creating a new architecture for the dancers. They played in and around this light, exploring the possibilities of its shape, contour and effect. The piece began to engage further once the performers interacted with each other and developed relationships. At times there were fleeting moments when the pulsing and exhilarating music by Jacques Poulin-Denis (a fantastic choreographer and dancer himself) helped anchor the piece. In what may have seemed an overwhelming amount of lighting changes and dramatic music, it actually helped bring out an original quality to the piece as it progressed. It was a fantastic example of a creative team working together in collaboration to bring out the best qualities in each other's work. While the piece lacked a certain individual stamp to it that often comes with youth it was exciting and makes me very curious what is next for this company.
After an extended intermission to re-haul almost the entire stage, the next element I was instantly struck by was two gigantic metal bars crossing the stage. A lone performer (Lael Stellick) sat on a long wooden bench peeling an orange, which from my front row seat wafted gently into my senses. He gently carries in the other three performers on his back, first one then impressively two at a time and places them on stage. Soon the bodies begin to gain an energy and a bizarre world starts to unravel in front of us. Based on the works of absurdist playwright Ionesco and Milan Kundera, more in their world views than in any singular work of theirs. The absurdity is explored through a courageous choice of placing highly intimate scenes next to highly charged and physical sections. While I struggled to see the connection between the two writers, possibly they worked best as a foundation for the two choreographers to explore their own ideas. Individual monologues were electric when mixed with gestures and movements seemingly inspired by their text.
Sept. 18 - 21