Affogato by Audra Simmons: A Mesmerizing Production


Choreographer: Audra Simmons

Dancers: Audra Simmons, Danielle Davies, Heather Labonte, Maddie Bolek, Monika Field and Victoria Buston 

George Ignatieff Theatre, Toronto, June 3-4, 2011

Festival St-Ambroise Fringe Montreal, Tangente, June 10-18, 2011


This beautiful mesmerizing work features six women of various, shapes, sizes and ages. No stereotypes here. Their presence is heightened by their art-deco look, body piercings, tattoos and sparkling chain jewellery.

Created by choreographer Audra Simmons when she was in a state of depression, Affogato has an aura of melancholy in facial expressions, gestures and slow repetitive movement. There is fluidity in the movement of isolated body parts—shoulders, hips, stomach, hands—that creates a seductively visual effect.

When they move in slow tempo toward the audience, the lighting design strikingly illuminates the textures of flesh and muscle movements. They look at us in a confrontational gaze, affirming their presence, their individuality within the group, their right to be there. We as audience have become the outsiders, the accusers.

In Montreal, the Tangente is a small intimate space that places the audience in close proximity to the dancers; the blackness of the walls and the darkness of the deep stage at the back contributes to the feeling of audience involvement.

In Toronto the raised seating and the wide brightly lit space of the George Ignatieff Theatre forces the audience to look down on the dancers like judges. There is no intimacy or intimidation.