Friday, May 30, 2014

Review: (Toronto / Dance)

(photo by Negwhua Anderson)
Dancing For Your Life
by Jessica Yen created by Lua Shayenne and Company is an energetic and thoughtful production, blending African and contemporary dance aesthetics. This fusion of styles is well suited towards the themes Lua Shayenne has chosen to explore. The first piece, entitled LAND-ED IM.MI.GRANT  depicts a new immigrant, trying to make her way through an intimidating immigration process. Canada is embodied in the form of two sinister looking masked dancers who taunt and tease the prospective immigrant. Shayenne explores both the dark and the light, offering lots of humour within the piece. One of the most memorable moments of the evening was when each dancer - standing in queue with a number taped to their stomach - would go in one by one for an 'interview', where they would each dance for their lives for a chance to stay in Canada.

After intermission, HY.BRID began with a slideshow of family portraits and various images of nature and the cosmos. The family portraits were of most interest; some were of white families; some were of black families; and some were both. HY.BRID explores the experience of being mixed race and how certain physical features can be associated with one's cultural identity. This piece felt more cohesive than the first and much more personal. Both pieces struggled to find smooth transitions from recorded music to live percussion, which sometimes made the aural experience a little jarring. While LAND-ED IM.MI.GRANT and HY.BRID were very different in style, they both tackled the challenge of feeling like an outsider trying to fit within a rigid structure. The most cathartic moments were when dancers would choose to break from the rigidity and embrace their own form. is an honest look at the evolution of the Canadian cultural ecology. 

May 29 - 31

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