Friday 8 March 2013

Everyday Anthems - Flickering Moments

Starting off with a soft light and voice behind a mesh screen, Everyday Anthems at the Harbour Front Centre, production from Toronto Dance Theater, carried the viewer through the striking dance performance like a boat in the ocean.  The boat sometimes drifted through calm periods, other times thrashing around into the waves holding passengers that came and went.  As I spoke with my friend after the dance performance she reminded me that although we know how expressive the body can be, seeing it live reminds us how amazing expressive movement and the body are. 

I have only been to a few dance performances in my life, and like visual art, we all have our preferences.  When it comes to conceptual art I tend to stray away, however, in this case I was drawn in with the use of spoken stories from the dancers themselves.  These stories gave context for the pieces that followed and set the stage for the performers, giving them a certain energy and use of space that brought you to their world.

The choreography achieved balance with the organized flow of movements yet enough freedom for each dancer to express it in their own way.  When moving as a group I watched each dancer intently wanting to see each one carefully and how they were going to flow across the stage.  It would have been interesting to see them closing night and their collective intended movements more polished and refined. When in pairs I was captivated watching the separation and reuniting in and out like waves and sand on a beach.  Each separate but connected in rhythm and, pattern and movement; starting separately then slowly mimicking one another yet maintaining their own style. These moments mirrored the message of how we are shaped by our experiences and those who are present and part of our transformations.

My favourite part of the performance was definitely the style of dance. The two dancers that stood out for me were Naishi Wang and PulgaMuchochoma. Each with their own unique style and phenomenal ability to push their bodies to the limit through movement. I loved their strength, passion and energy both when dancing alone and connected to others. The variety of quick movements pushing the bodies limits in shape, balance, and speed was definitely master by these two.  Overall the performance  changed from quick to frozen stillness that to me reflected the overall theme of the production, time.  We have moments in our lives that slow down and others that wiz by, those moments are influenced by those who surround us.  When we have people in our lives that step up and support us, we fall in love with life that much more.  Each piece reviled this message and brought forth the reminder that we are all connected.

The connections between the dancers was rarely through eye contact rather it was through the air and energy around them.  Each dancer performed their own expressive interpretation of the experience, using one another to aid in their exploration and personal expression. Guiding one another along their path parting and reconnecting, sometimes never again, like all the people we encounter in our life.

Like all work there is room for growth, in this piece I would say the group portions needed to be polished and more unified.  The spoken stories, for me, provided context for the pieces and with practice they would have flowed more like the movements in the production. Overall I enjoyed the reflection the performance gave me on stopping more often at those moments in our lives that shape who we are and those who played a part.

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