Thursday, October 3, 2013


L-R:  Ryan Lee, Tyler Gledhill and Benjamin Landsberg
all photos by Geneviève Caron
 in Robert Glumbeck's Shifting Silence

The opening program for the proartedanza fall season is a beautiful action packed variety of music and choreography that exemplifies the company's mandate for passion in performance

Robert Glumbeck's Shifting Silence opened the evening with sharply focused sequences, divided by a dominant square of light and blocks of dense costume colour. The ensemble, led by Tyler Gledhill's shirtless singularity, moved in solos and duets through contrasting musical interludes. J.S. Bach's classical strains and Senking's powerful electronic music, marked by gorgeous highs and lows, supported the transitions with wonderful nuance and impeccable sound editing. Initially the pairings seemed to have been arranged according to prowess and degrees of corporeal presence. Two red costumes quickly became very distracting as they appeared to denote a connection between the two dancers that never quite materialized. Tyler Gledhill's couplings with Mami Hata were the most connected and dynamic, but Hata's costume suggested otherwise. This would not necessarily pose a problem if the colour and design of the whole ensemble's outfits had not been so reminiscent of a kind of strange Star Trek sci-fi motif. Showcasing the muscularity of Gledhill's bare torso seemed to be a physically defining moment, but a somewhat incongruous choice when the whole company might have been served better by more form fitting, less crisp, interplanetary lines. Same sex pairings between Gledhill and other dancers such as Ryan Lee were able to transcend the designs and showcase the dynamic beauty of Glumbeck's choreography. 

Shifting Silence provided a powerful and evocative series of contrasts, all focused around the opening presence of Gledhill's dominant role, creating an exciting and satisfying overall impression of Eda LeShan's  epigraph contained in the program note -

"When we cannot bear to be alone, it means we do not properly value the only companion we will have from birth to death."

Moving into, away from, and in tandem with Gledhill's pivotal red trousered turn, Shifting SIlence was indeed a gorgeous and powerful journey from the beginning of life to an unspecified end, with a single powerful companion to embrace, diverge from, and ultimately consume and be consumed by.

Tyler Gledhill and Mami Hata 
in Robert Glumbeck's Shifting Silence

The second offering, a collaboration between artistic director Roberto Campanella and artistic associate Robert Glumbeck began to suggest a perhaps unconscious movement into the more balanced progression of costume definition and exhilarating physical tones for the overall evening. Entitled simply, Beethoven's 9th-3rd Movement, the high and lows of movement and music worked well in relation to each other as the slow meditation of musical tones gradually built to Beethoven's signature crescendo - ending the piece on an almost anthem like note that led well into the final section of the program. Costume Coordination by dancer Anisa Teipar began to reveal a subtler sense of form and colour that allowed bodies to flow in a less distracting manner than the evening's opening sequence. The bodies are the primary vessel in dance, after all, and there are times when costume can overwhelm movement to a bewildering degree. The Beethoven sequence succeeded beautifully and could have added another level of dynamism had the men's costume's been more sharply defined. The women's torsos were lightly draped in elegant semi sheer greyness with shortened casual lower body apparel and simple black socks. The men wore monotone clad gymwear that allowed them to embody a kind of casual, generalized presence. Chairs played a significant part in the sequence and became beautiful integrated props in a piece that possessed shades of Chekhov's over-furnished dramas where a somewhat familial ensemble scrambles through the domiciled and emotional interiors of complex physical maneuvers. The first appearance of a single chair evoked a sense of "oh no, not the thing with the chair again!" But quickly these simple timeless utilitarian objects provided a fully integrated and mesmerizing part of a truly committed and theatrical element of praartedanza's signature promotional cut-line stating that they do in fact embody great passion in performance. 

The final selection of the evening took this sense of passion to the height of perfection through brilliant, powerful choreopgraphy, engrossing music, and sublime costuming by Deanna Sciortino. Venetians Snares, the main performing alias of Canadian musician Aaron Funk, provided a recorded electronic soundscape that possessed a crescendo laden, patterned rhythm that moved the dancers through breakneck pacing, allowing for exciting solos and dynamic pairings. The entire ensemble took virtuosic turns in this engrossing finale, punctuated with simple black trousers and bare torsos for the men, and similar black two piece outfits for the women - covering the chest area with a slim horizontal swath yet defining the body with a strong accentuated power and grace. Entitled Fractals, Guillaume Côté’s choreography matched the envigorating power of the music and ended the program with a fabulous interpretation of the “development of snowflakes, flowers, or clouds” whereby “strict order and unpredictable influence are integral to the formation of fractals.” This idea of “order and chaos, along with shape and pattern” was a beautifully realized tribute to the complexity, serenity, and pandemonium of nature’s varied emotional and material offerings.

Anisa Tejpar and Tyler Gledhill                                                                                                                            

Anisa Tejpar, Erin Poole and Tyler Gledhill

                         proartedanza - at the Fleck Dance Theatre, Harbourfront, until October 5th

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