Friday, September 28, 2012


I am an animal...

A playful quality,  drawing one into the beginnings of D.A. Hoskin's I am an Animal, is a delightful and deceiving introduction to a powerful piece of dance theatre that dares to move from fancy free to furiously quirky and romantically challenged at the drop of a hat. Cabbage patches (romaine in fact, but cabbage sounds better) and sofas unite as a quintet of dancers take turns at mesmerizing spectators with a panoply of movement and vocalization that interrogates the naked body with precision, athletic endurance, and beautifully nuanced movement. Hoskins has created solos and duets for his ensemble that flow with such precision and sensitivity from each inidivdual body - it feels like the movement has been created as a unique, personalized gift for each performer to skillfully unwrap.

from L to R - Fabien Piche, Paul Charbonneau, Andrew Hartley, Mariana Medellin- Meinke, Emily Law

Fabien Piche commands the stage with a powerfully ambiguous gender presence, impeccable technical prowess, and disarmingly  beautiful vocals that allow him to inhabit a variety of complex choreographic roles. Paul Charbonneau possesses an athletically defined ethereal quality in one solo segment as his intensely, measured, introverted, and fluid movements travel delicately through a soft, formidably haunting sequence. Andrew Hartley initiates the many magical moments of nudity - moving in and out of clothing, with the help of the ensemble, with a kind of unassuming grace and exquisite, limber, subtlety that infuses his performance with an emotionally and physically engaged presence. Mariana Medellin-Meinke delights the eye and ear as she races, cavorts, and softly engages with Hartley in a sensual duet. Her comic timing and her amazing agility render her role a strong, unabashed study in a diverse form of corporeal dignity. Emily Law rounds out the ensemble as her hair and body are rendered mutable and irresistible bodily agents that she very skillfully manipulates through gorgeous movement and a piercing, enviable charm. When Fabien Piche delivers a series of frank, at times comic love quips to her, the stage becomes a kind of kinetic tableau vivant testament to the intricate nature of love, romance, feigned disenchantment, and the will to control one's frequently fickle romantic destiny.

The ensemble is aided by diverse musical selections ranging from Streisand to Roberta Flack, giving the overall piece a kind of nostalgic dance/slumber party feel (of the erogenous kind) that includes an onstage turntable beside a sofa large enough for all five performers to lounge and laze as they move toward an unexpectedly poignant and gorgeously written finale - a finale possesses a brief monologic segment that tugs at the heartstrings with a relentless and moving charm. Written by Hoskins himself, this   celebratory, requiem-like segment adds a rich, moving texture that acts as a beautiful counterpoint to the dominant playfulness of the choreography -

the beginning of one’s finality of desire
is when one dies.
not as easy as one thinks
It can be hard work to die... 

It is an exquisite death
It is an exquisite death

the recognition of this fleeting existence...

And so what do we do?
we graze
we graze

Ultimately, the piece is framed by a disarming joviality that impeccably cushions the full frontal eclecticism Hoskins is famous for. With wardrobe coordination by Mikey G. and 'mother nature' this is a sexy, exciting, funny, and poignant selection of explosive meditations from the Dietrich Group that embraces jovial interplay and beautifully reverent/elegiac moments addressing romance and mortality in a provocative, enlightening, and thoroughly entertaining way.  

running at the Citadel at 305 Parliament until Saturday Septemebr 29th

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