Friday, November 28, 2014

Review: (Montreal / Dance) Infinity Doughnut

(Photo: Svetla Atanasova)
The Pleasure of Being Together
by Chad Dembski, Editor, Dance

Upon arriving just on time to Monument National I saw an extremely long line for the coat check. This was the first request of many to shed your outer world belongings and join the performance space area. I left my backpack and shoes at the side, stood against the back wall and held hands with two different strangers. Then as a long line of curious audience members we carefully navigated down a flight of stairs and walked in and around the space.  This instantly brought me back to elementary school and the few exhilarating days we would visit a non-school location. There was a giddy nervousness amongst most of the crowd that chose to go along for the ride; some audience members refused to take their shoes off and join in. Still this simple, opening action helped bring an instant intimacy to the piece and for me a personal awareness of each and every audience member.
A gorgeous ambient tone fills the space, providing comfort and anticipation of what is to come. While we had all wandered into a place of unknown performers, choreographer Katie Ward and lighting designer Paul Chambers played perfect hosts. A gentle and humorous introduction of the piece happens as the performers slowly transformed from warm up type movements into the first section of the piece. An experiment in togetherness? A cosmic call and response dance piece that probably changes each and every performance? An exploration of being in the moment and listening to everything happening in a room? I can’t say for sure but I was completely engaged and enthralled by the unpretentious, open and hilarious nature of Infinity Doughnut. Katie Ward has been making new creations since 2004 and her maturity and curiosity shine through on this complex and challenging piece. It is highly risky to ask an audience to go on a journey like this, to get over their personal expectations of contemporary dance and simply attempt to think, feel and possibly enjoy. 

The music of Michael Feuerstack is almost the spine of the piece, helping bring a dynamic to it in its diverse sources and patterns. From bouncy electronic music to scrapping ambient noise, the music opened the possibilities of interpretation. Plus the live lighting creation by Paul Chambers gave a sense of both support and spirit guide to the experience. This kind of work falls apart quickly without trust and extremely strong collaboration and this group has it in beautiful abundance.  One of the closing sections a performer repeats “I love you” over and over again, I wasn’t sure if he was talking to the other performers or the audience but it was touching and a great reveal of the intention of the piece.   

November 27 - 30

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