DANCEWORKS, HARBOURFRONT CENTRE/NEXT STEPS 15/16 AND DW215 HOSKINS/BASKERVILLE
Jackie Burroughs is Dead
As we were about to begin our first rehearsals, Canadian actress Jackie Burroughs died. For those of you who don’t know, Jackie Burroughs had a deep affinity for dance and was a constant presence in the Toronto dance scene. We all in some way or another had a connection with her. I reflected on the last time I had seen her as well as the times we had spoken throughout the years. Collectively, these encounters were relatively few, but each still registers. Jackie’s passing came at a fragile time. The title of our piece arose from that initial rehearsal where I was perplexed, angry and lost at the sheer amount existence was demanding I absorb. Jackie’s presence, and absence - even someone on the periphery of my own personal life - could not be dismissed. She came to represent to me a kind of collectiveness of the world, and the community in which I live.
DA Hoskins - programme notes
The title suggests a kind of void that must be filled by a collective unconscious that longs to celebrate and remember Jackie Burroughs. Perhaps the best thing to do in the face of such an iconic presence, and subsequent absence, is to not refer specifically to the title in any direct manner throughout - and this is just what occurs. And yet, a moment never passes when the sense of Burrough's presence permeates the subtle, at times explosive movement of three dancers whose performances may be likened to a kind of channeling effect - “the collectiveness of the world, and the” (Hoskins) communities that we inhabit as artists, spectators, and the spirit of all that we leave behind.
Intense eye contact that moves into and throough the dancers bodies, subtle gestural movements, and elastic, manic implosions that appear to both pivot and bounce upon the blanched ghostly floor, fill the seventy minutes with beautiful tones of presence, absence, and the all-consuming through-line of mortality that touches all of our lives, all through our lives - until the end.
Hoskins choreography is at once meditative, manic, implosive and explosive as three bodies show spectators what they are going to do about it - how to move, live, dance, and continue to journey through the maze of all the sadnesses and celebrations of mortality, and ultimately, our fleeting brushes with physical bodies as evocative and talents as magnificent as the life and the artistry of Jackie Burroughs.