Wendy Jehlen in the Montreal Fringe


Knocking Within

Choreographer: Wendy Jehlen
Dancers: Wendy Jehlen and Pradhuman Nayak


Anikai Dance Theatre

St. Ambroise Montreal Fringe 2013

MAI 3680 rue Jeanne Mance
June 15-23 2013




Choreographer Wendy Jehlen explores the relationship between two lovers from different cultures within the context of dreaming.

The woman is white American (Wendy Jehlen) and the man Hindi (Pradhuman Nayak).

It is at first clear who is dreaming. Gradually their dreams overlap. Are they dreaming in unison? Is each taking on the other’s dreams? Are we maybe seeing actual reality?

The dominant dance form is capoeira infused with other multicultural and contemporary dance vocabularies. Begins with wide fluid extension of hands, arms and legs. Reflects innocence and happiness. 

Mood changes as Tai Chi hand and arm movements become angry and threatening. Lashing out. A slap in the face. Distrust. Jealousy. Attraction/Repulsion. Circling. Glaring at each other. Assessing. Wary. Woman trying to voice her feelings. Other controlling. 

In one scene, she speaks in sign language. He speaks in Hindi. Many in the audience will not understand what either is saying. This adds a sense of real life. Different languages are spoken around us and we feel alienated and frustrated by our lack of understanding.

The text is from Shakespeare's plays and sonnets. Another culture in another time. 

Hands sliding repeatedly down knees and thighs. Opening outwards. An aborted baby?

Text in Ophelia's voice: "There’s rue for you and here’s some for me." Rue, in Shakespeare's time, was a major cause of abortion and associated with adultery. There are also the words of Lady Macbeth, in her famous blood-on-hands dialogue.

Even the music with flamenco over the capoeira reflects the melting pot of the world where all cultures merge.

A painterly feel in blocking, aesthetics and lighting design by Stephen Petrilli.

Near the end, the lovers on the floor, dreaming. She is lying on her side, facing the audience. Her eye opens wide. Looking at us, the multicultural watchers.

Ends with them united again, the facade of a loving couple back in place. Will the cycle continue?

Wendy Jehlen has created a rivetting and fascinating new language in dance that reflects the society in which we live.