I saw some really good dance tonight. ‘O Vertigo’ are veterans of the post-modern dance scene in Canada, this being their 20th year in the business and Ginette Laurin’s ‘Passare’ reminds us why.
I’ve heard of O Vertigo for a number of years and have been curious to see their work for nearly a decade. Tonight was my chance. I didn’t read the press-pack for this show, nor did I visit the website. I put my trust in Dance Umbrella and allowed myself be taken on a journey.
Before my bottom had warmed the seat, I noticed the video projection on the scrim, and I rolled my eyes – I can’t tell you how sick I am of video projections in dance. More often than not, I find that video projections are thrown in as a gimmick with little or no thought and it’s become such a cliché. Dance and video, video and dance, blah blah blah.
But I decided that I shouldn’t be too quick to judge since the houselights hadn’t even gone down.
I admit I was intrigued by the opening, where two dancers in steel full-bodied corsets gracefully crossed the stage. The rest of the company appeared in long coats lined with ferocious fuscia, electric blue, handled by the dancers like expert matadors would with their capes. This movement added splashes of colour and excitement to the stage. The dancing was exhuberent, filled with gestural movement and large combinations in duets and trios that threw bodies upside down, rightside up and around at the flick of a switch. The dancers make it look so light and easy – effortless.
I got the distinct feeling that the work was about memory – the choreography was laden with repetition, bodies coming and going, manipulating, being manipulated … and I was right, Laurin takes us to another space where dancers are recalling their first sexual encounter, recounting the inaccuracies of dreams. Weaving all of this in a carefully constructed mise en scene of movement, text, props, lighting, sound and costume design.
But what about that screen?
At times it was annoying, I mean, it shouldn’t have even been there. But the times when it truly added another dimension to the performance was fantastic. For instance, a duet with a metal rod where one dancer reacts to the movements of the other through this conductor of energy, the live video feed is a close up of the dancer who is receiving the energy. This abstract projection captures the play between the projected image and the live performance. It was a great moment. The piece de resistance, however, was near the end. Where the dancers were filmed from above, this image projected on to the back wall (scrim), creating a fourth dimension. Then on the live video projection we see a pair of hands and a ruler drawing out the dancers’ pathways – like some mad architect.
The audience was somewhat cool – I couldn’t contain myself I had to yell ‘bravo!’. Because it was simply a very good show.
<small>[ 18 October 2004, 04:58 PM: Message edited by: Christine de Leon ]</small>