Can you feel the tense vibrations of the articulate minority?
I ask because I have felt and seen their anxiety and frustration in their art. Beyond the constant hum of their work and their musings, one can feel the pent up longing for significance in their creative pieces. They appear to be constantly reaching back for approval, and pushing forward with distrust.
It is a jagged movement back and forth, constant and repetitive until made smooth. This intuitively describes the work of Jessica Shaw as presented by the bodies of Jai Clarke, Megan Edwards and Latoya Tingle in an enchanting, piece entitled “Surrender.”
Beyond all of that, it was a pleasure as always to take in the learning of these young people, not solely for the beauty of it but also for the reality of curating the future.
The dynamic nature of Wednesday night’s works speak to the robust work being done by the dance fraternity, and represents the prospect that dance will thrive with or without corporate support. I cannot say the same for the other art forms. But that is a debate for another time.
Wednesday’s presentation was strong for opening night, but there were moments where the cast seemed disconnected. Perhaps tired, perhaps disappointed with the low turnout. This weekend will hopefully be busier, and well attended.
The program was well balanced, and varied with offerings of modern, folk and dancehall. For me, “Surrender” and “The Emergencies of Strangers” were the most elaborate and nuanced pieces of the first half. Both of which were choreographed by young members of the School of Dance faculty. Kemar Francis’ 2016 work “Circles” mimicked the clock and eagerly evoked the concept of time, with vivid allusions to the rapid pace of our lives and relationships. It is of course fascinating to watch the solid trust being built between Richard Campbell and Kemar Francis, as these two are already notable members of the NDTC.
My main concern would be the overwhelming use of music to be emotive. It is all a delicate balance, because the fact is, sometimes even key dancers have off days. And I can recall 2 dances I have seen before that had less, rather than more impact and were lost to the intensity of the song selection. This however is a minor issue, and in fact is only apparent due to familiarity.
The repertoire of DanceWorks 2016 is strong, fun, intriguing and beautiful with remounts such as “Roxie”, “Ramble of Inner Thoughts” and “Ways of Love” shining bright. The work, patience, and brilliance of those involved in this production is obvious from beginning to end. So as I observed it I reflected on how their bodies carry our history in a way that neither words nor pictures can fully capture. Which has left me with nothing but reverence for our region’s dancers and choreographers as they grow and move through time. Their interpretations of life, love, pain, loss and culture, inspire awe and beauty. Which is good, for all of us.
DanceWorks is on for one weekend only.
April 2 @ 8pm Cost: $1200
April 3 @ 5pm Cost: $1500