Last fall's Canadian Festival of Spoken word opened with a full house for poet orientation. There was complimentary poutine from a truck on the street and some amazingly diverse spoken word performance that was combined with a gorgeous dance piece by for body and light, a Montreal based troupe that I have had the pleasure of seeing twice - as part of the MIle End Poetry Festival and more recently the annual Canadian Spoken Word extravaganza. Poet's from across the country packed the space at Divan Orange and created an atmosphere of excitement and divine poetic excess for the dancers to work within.
The work by for body and light is a fabulous combination of poetry, dance theatre, performance, and visually stunning lighting and choreography. Acclaimed Spoken Word artist Ian Ferrier accompanied the dancers and contributed to an incredible atmospheric experience for a short piece entitled Hurricane.
Ferrier's dulcet soothing tones surrounded the performance within the simultaneously powerful and comforting soundscape he is known for in his distinct combination of melodious guitar accompaniment and a kind of soft yet commanding presence through voice and word. With choreography by Stéphanie Morin-Robert, dancers Heather Lynn Macdonald and Linnea Gwiazda inhabited a very small section of the stage and carefully and methodically committed their bodies to a contemplative, at times subtly explosive relationship with onstage water. The juxtaposition of their bodies, closely aligned with each other, and the always unpredictable nature of water onstage and off, created an intense tension for the choreography to blossom within. Gradual movement became seamlessly entwined with Ferrier's evocative narrative, and moved into a finely conceived commingling of fluid engrossing physical and verbal imagery - bringing home the central notion of how a hurricane can overwhelm both body and spirit with weightlessness, spinning upheaval, and a sense of metaphoric transformation into interpretive realms ranging from images of grandmothers, wagonriders, invading armies, and JOYful tatoos.
About to embark on a North American tour, for body and light has created an impressive repertoire of dance performance that does precisely what their name promises. Creative use of lamps as hand held props, sharp lighting effects, minimal yet evocative onstage environments, and the beauty and power of a poet's words give the company an exciting and vast field of dance performance possibility to work within.
For examples for of body and light's work go to -
written & performed by Ian Ferrier
When you are driving into a hurricane
you will first feel weightless
as if you made an ominous
wrong choice in life
a choice to defy even gravity
and as your car lifts off the road
you will wonder why you are
the only soul headed in your direction
and why in the afternoon sky gone dark
dark clouds are stacked so high you cannot
imagine light above them
the divided highway in the other direction
crawls with cars, trucks, carpets, pets, cattle,
grandmothers and wagonriders
abandoning the deserted island
You will find yourself in a darkened city,
standing in a doorway for which
your keys don’t fit the lock
and the only people who befriend you
are those worse off than you—Tibetan cab driver
tick talk as the sound of the meter
times his country rocked by invading armies,
houses and beliefs crumbling
finger on the prayer bowl spinning
all of us into hell
At the height of the hurricane you will see a tall boy and a girl in a black linen dress running down the avenue in the rain,
under the torn awning of your restaurant window
they stop to kiss,
and she reaches high high up to gather all of him into her heart,
and he lifts and twirls her and there three letters
tattooed up her neck
J - O - Y
and when her kiss has made him breathless,
he will hold both her hands,
suggest, beseech that they
run for the shelter of their bed.
And in that instant, JOY will leave him,
exiting frame left, and he left
standing in the rain, rain wracking the ribs of his
When you walk into the center of a hurricane,
damage and beauty will be all that surround you
you will be awe-struck by the epic of your life.
And will give all your possessions
to possess only that moment,
of love, danger, beauty, power
fear, darkness, rain, twilight.
Trees falling crowds milling train leveled
wind thrown umbrellas javelins
sails leaves, billboards and lights,
the beaches collapsing collapsing
when you are driving
when you are driving