In a land of dreams and nightmares by Chad Dembski, Editor, Dance
Montréal Danse is an intriguing Montreal dance company in that they choose a different choreographer for each new creation. Led by Artistic Director Kathy Casey, they tend to allow an exploration of new ideas and experimentation. Prismes; a highly original, bizarre and ambitious piece was originally created in 2013 at Agora de la Danse explores perception. The perception of colour, of light in space, and of body in as many forms as could be imagined. With a varied and pulsating soundtrack by Laurent Maslé and Tomas Furey the six performers display incredible virtuosity throughout the 75 minute piece.
A gentle and subtle beginning happens as the performers and some company members sprinkle themselves throughout the audience with papers. I wasn’t approached but overhead questions about perception, colour and images were presented in front of them on paper. This bleeds into the performers slowly making their way backstage and quietly discussing the changing colours of two flats on stage being effected by different levels of lighting. While a pleasant start it also seemed almost too sleepy and easy, a casual conversation without much to say except we all perceive things differently. Then highly colourful long pieces of fabric, contorted into various types of dress were used by each performer taking poses on stage. These sculptural poses reminded me of live paintings, still yet alive in their focus. These tableaux transformed into various pieces performed by the company on chairs and metal bars. They included a highly dynamic range of solos, duets, trios and full company moments. From a woman with her back to the audience working in tandem with another to make a new creature out of contorting, muscle spasms and pure physical skill, to impressive bar work where new shapes were created out of twisting and turning bodies both clothed and naked. I had a desire at times for certain sections to be explored more as there were at times extreme quick ends which made little sense and destroyed a mood that was being created. Still it is a testament to the dancers that they fully gave over to Benoit Lachambre’s vision for this piece, seeming to be built out of both dreams and nightmares. It ranged from the silly antics of acting like a baby or a monkey to intellectual discussion on how we each perceive. Still at the heart of this piece is a hunger for more; more intimacy, more observation, more connection, more letting go, more of our dreams in our real life.
Maybe this is me going off on my own trip but Prismes seems more like a surreal experience one would have on drugs or in a dream than in reality. It is always a pleasure to see a highly experienced choreographer continue to push new ideas and have six astounding artists go with him on this daring journey. If you have not seen the work of Monréal Danse or Benoit Lachambre, Prismes is a great introduction.