Sunday, October 16, 2011


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William Yong, Photo by David Hou

Dancers Heather Berry-MacPhail and Kate Franklin talk about Eight Ways From Mara, a Zata Omm Dance Project production choreographed by William Yong, Artistic Director, This multidisciplinary work featuring distilled imagery and poetry from Buddhist philosophy shows Oct 20-22 at Harbourfront Centre's Enwave Theatre. A DanceWorks Mainstage Series Event.



Gerry Trentham, Artistic Director of Pounds Per Square Inch Performance talks about Four Mad Humours taking place Nov 2-Nov 5 8pm at The Theatre Centre, 1087 Queen Street West. This is a interdisciplinary real-time networked show performed simulaneously with Buffalo. Both audiences will experience a live performance and live-feed virtual performance at the same time. Features four solo works based on the Elizabethan Humours-sanguine, choleric, melancholic and phlegmatic.

Choreographer, Serge Bennathan, former Artistic Director of Dancemakers, talks about his Dora Award Winning remount of Sable/Sand, a homage to his father's Algerian heritiage. Features a score composed by Ahmed Hassan who died of MS in 2011. Sable/Sand shows Oct 21-22 at the Betty Oliphant Theatre  in The Neat Strange Music of Ahmed Hassan, a multidisciplinary celebration of his work curated by Peggy Baker and The Abilities Arts Festival: A Celebration of Disability Arts and Culture showing throughout Toronto until October 30th at various venues.

Phase Space      
Choreographer Peggy Baker
Music John Kameel Farad
Dancers Kate Holden, Andrea Nann, Ric Brown, Sarah Fregeau and Sahara Morimoto
January 22-24 & 27-31 2016
Betty Oliphant Theatre
The first piece is a trio with dancers Ric Brown, Sarah Fregeau and Sahara Morimoto. When the curtain rises we see four chairs: two of adult size, and two so small they would not be out of place in a doll's house. Like children playing, the dancers leap, spin, crawl around them. Their vocabulary suggests circus performers, a fact highlighted by a circus motif in the electronic soundscape.
One trills like a bird, and is answered by the others, some of whom reach a preverbal, primeval state of their inner selves. Their voices are almost operatic in  nature, and at times disembodied, seemingly coming from a distant past. The effect feels like visually and orally being in a surreal twilight zone where memories and dreams collide. This piece ends with the male taking ownership of an adult chair, then letting out a very jarring high pitched wolf howl. 
A solo has Sahara Morimoto moving in isolation within the confines of a taped-off square. Her movements are heavily gestural, assessing and measuring the space in which she is enclosed. She appears to me like a mechanical doll repeating the same motions, a fact highlighted by a rotating wheel motif in the soundscape.
The third piece, a duet, features dancers Sahara Morimoto and Andrea Nann moving in isolation within a grid, passing and circling but never aware of each other. They are unable to connect until the end, where they do so as if possibly mirror images of each other.
The fourth piece, a solo for dancer Kate Holden, features once again Krucker's vocalography. Initially, Holden is seen as a black, undefined shadow staring at a tilted canvas on which only lips are painted. This solo is like watching her creating herself in the canvas of life. In the end, waves of sound crash down, transforming her back into how she was in the beginning.
Throughout all the pieces composer/musician John Kameel Farad plays on a platform high above the dancers. Being aware of him visually above has the effect at times of him controlling the body language rather than the dancers expressing the memories within. Overall, though, I found his sound beautifully textured and sensorial, perfectly attuned to this surreal production.

Peggy Baker and Fides Krucker offered a brief talk before each show, in which they described how they worked together to create this work. Baker explained how she had the dancers access remembered movement from previous works they did with Peggy. Even with this awarenesss, I found this to be a challenging show but a rewarding one.
I just let myself be immersed in the evocative nuances of the soundscape, the surreal images and watching the great dancers.
Others would have a different experience watching this show. The images that would come to them might be different from what I saw: No children. No wolves. No dancer creating herself on the canvas of life.


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