Thursday, October 6, 2011


a seamless program of beautifully placed new work

Four exciting and boldly athletic new dance pieces are currently being premiered at the Fleck Dance Theatre by Proartedanza. This one hundred minute tour de force features magnificent choreography and breathtaking dancing that becomes a seamless and enthralling marriage of music and movement.

The North American premiere of Robert Glumbek’s Verwoben (2008) was inspired by “the concept of intertwining or weaving together . . . in response to music, human interaction and surrounding conditions.” Dancers Marc Cardarelli, Mami Hata, and Brendan Wyatt implement these complex movements, to Beethoven’s Cello Sonata No. 3 in A-Minor, with an intricate and breathtaking finesse. In the context of the overall program to follow, the music stands out as perhaps the most traditional, at times belying the fluid, knot-like movement that brings the dancers into a variety of startling configurations that a single same sex coupling literally lifts and carries bodies in and out of. On its own the piece works beautifully as a kind of post-modern semi- balletic study. In the context of the entire evening, it whets the appetite for the very bold and explosive pieces to follow, and stands alone as a beautiful classical inflected piece of choreography. Judiciously placed at the beginning of the evening, Glumbek’s piece excels as a grand titillating preview for the explosive mix of music and choreography to follow.

En Parallèle (2011 - Toronto premiere), choreographed by Proartedanza’s Artistic Director Roberto Campanella, initiates what becomes, over the course of the next hour, a startling at times staccato evening of bodies and dance that embody a truly seamless and stimulating mélange of sound and corporeal image. Dancers Tyler Gledhill and Marissa Parzei create a stunning “universe controlled by fixed physical laws” in a sharply nuanced “encounter [that] hinges on a fleeting moment and absolute blind chance.” The fleeting quality of the movement and the ‘blind’ desire of the tonal gestures brings the duo together in vivid, detached images that separate and commingle throughout, giving the piece a simultaneous sense of both attraction and division, filling the stage with a wonderful sense of individual skill and a kind of contemporary pas de deux. Music by Jóhan Jóhannsson and Marc Mellits provides a wonderfully ambient environment for the fleeting blindness that the narrative embraces.

Pearline (2011), by Kevin O’Day, another North American Premiere, utilizes to incredible effect, the music of Son House, an American blues singer and guitarist who pioneered an innovative style featuring strong, repetitive rhythms, frequently played with the aid of a slide guitar. House’s music often incorporated elements of spiritual and southern gospel that influenced artists Bonnie Raitt, Robert Johnson, and John Hammond, among others. With the support of a very unique and eclectic lyrical soundscape, this is perhaps the most seamless offering of the evening as it represents a truly startling and enigmatic sense of music and dance as they move abruptly in and out of each other. Moments of silence combined with bodies that merge into the musicians innovative and evocative rhythms in an exciting manner, reveal both body and sound as inseparable. Through the impeccable timing, delightful comic innuendo, and the very impressive skill of dancers Mami Hata and Louis Laberge-Côté Pearline brings both grand pathos and light humour to the stage.

The world premiere of Guilluame Côté’s Fractals: a pattern of chaos is beautifully placed as it represents, in the context of the whole program, a volatile culmination of diverse yet complimentary choreography. An ensemble of eight dancers* present a truly eclectic cornucopia of sharp, gestural bravado that moves from a sense of Bob Fosse chorus line tableau to comic, almost Stomp-like finesse, never lapsing into what could have been a kind of laborious kitsch citation. The piece continues the program’s unerring mix of music and choreography as they blend seamlessly. An electronic score by Canadian composer Venetian Snares is the pitch perfect accompaniment for this utterly enthralling climax. Côté’s artistry possesses a deceptively symmetrical framework that brings his dance narrative full circle as bodies represent that elusive and gorgeous natural ‘fractal’ phenomenon of “snowflakes, flowers or cloud” as they mingle in “strict order and unpredictable influence.”

Both strict order and unpredictable influence are the hallmarks of this exciting evening of choreography, running at Harbourfront’s Fleck Dance Theatre until October 8th.

* Johanna Bergfeit, Valerie Calam, Marc Cardarelli, Tyler Gledhill, Mama Hata, Louis Laberge-Côté, Ryan Lee, Marissa Parzei (Oct 5,8), Erin Poole (Oct 6,7)

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