I had the great pleasure of watching a world premiere dance performance last night. (Check out the Arts East review) Premieres are fun as you never know what you”re in store for; choreographer Tedd Robinson summed it up well in a pre-show chat when he discussed the nature of (contemporary) dance and that it is for people who appreciate adventure.
Well, adventure is to be had in Tedd”s latest work on Mocean Dance, just as it is in Claudia Moore and Dan Wild”s performance of Robinson and James Kudelka”s choreography that opens the program. For the record: I like adventure and will define it as a voyage of discovery (that does not necessarily imply travel) where our senses are treated to unknown (and unsuspected) information. All that is required of us is to go along for the ride and be receptive along the way. We may not know where we”re going but we should recognise that we”ve arrived (and perhaps even by which path).
Claudia Moore”s Dances in a Small Room – comprised of Robinson”s lone some and Kudelka”s Half an hour of Our Time – is an intimate study on inhabiting space that simply reminds me that sometimes the answers are right in front of our noses. I am reminded of a wonderful article roulette in a recent edition of Psychology Today titled To Dance is a Radical Act. In it, author Kimerer LaMothe writes: …”Humans are not rational minds dwelling in bodily containers. We are bodies. We are bodily selves whose movements are making us able to think and feel and act at all. And if we are to achieve a just and sustainable world, then we must make sure that our processes of getting there honor the wisdom and agency present in the movement of our bodily selves. To dance is a radical act because dancing reminds us that the bodily movements we make make us who we are.”
Ah ha moment! Those dancers looking like they”re depicting the ups, downs, swerves, and collisions of coupledom are pseudo-didactically doing just that! There”s no need to look further, we need simply remember that our bodily movements reveal enormous amounts of information that we may think/feel is otherwise bottled up inside our individual heads. Moore, and partner Dan Wilde, exist within a 5m X 5m square of light – their small room – and we the audience are drawn into their slipstream of time. I had that uncanny feeling of dreaming and hovering above myself looking down… almost as if witnessing a stop motion rush of life surrounded by frozen time. Simple. Haunting. Aching.
Moore”s white square of floor is transformed into white canvas squares as Robinson”s work on Mocean Dance, Canvas 5 X 5, begins the second half. I am still pondering how Robinson so exquisitely crept under my skin and crafted such a worthy and surprising adventure. Paraphrasing one audience member”s comment, this was an exceptional piece of Celtic Japanese mystic performance! Robinson harnesses Mocean”s energy and joyful spirit and thoroughly infuses it with a sense of nostalgia, heritage, and play. There IS something mystical about this work that I am still struggling to put my finger on… those blank canvasses are sooo rich in metaphor and the dancers” wonderful sense of play sooo familiar… Robinson demonstrates why he is increasingly recognised as one of Canada”s most unique choreographic voices.
Suffice to say I am looking forward to a second viewing tonight.