Thursday, October 2, 2014

Review: (Montreal) elsewhere (Dance)

(photo by Jeremy Mimnagh)

Going Elsewhere together
by Sarah Deshaies, Senior Contributor

The first performer takes staccato steps in chunky heels, puncturing her jagged movements with electric spasms. The dancer who joins her is silkier, smoother… and in time, he begins to influence the first dancer, scooping her up and depositing her all over the stage.

The motif in elsewhere are dancers hiding behind semi-opaque sheets; each one steps out onto centre stage to dance and set their own pace. Followed by another performer who resets the pace, changes the game - so that the show is a layer cake of experience and influence.

Choreographer Heidi Strauss writes that a friend noticed she tended to be inspired by the idea of affect - the ability to ‘register experience and have influence over it. elsewhere is a catalogue of life’s experiences, and how they are smoothed and bent by the forces around us. 

Strauss, a rising choreographer based in Toronto, was invited back to Montreal after a twelve-year respite from the city. With elsewhere, a five-person piece that features performers from several corners of Canada, she opens the 33rd season of Danse-Cité. 

I lost track of the order of the individual scenes, as the intimate solos, duos and ensembles as danced by Molly Johnson, Luke Garwood, Miriah Brennan, Danielle Baskerville and Brendan Wyatt blurred into a smooth, whirling performance. 

elsewhere was developed over a long period, with breaks of months at a time as other projects intervened, showing that the piece itself succumbed to the ebb and flow of life.

With a thick wall of music, simple, sleek lighting and a smattering of spoken word, elsewhere is a fine intellectual presentation of contemporary dance.

Oct 1 - 4

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