Friday, June 25, 2010

Warfare - ASM Dance Company - June 25 & 26 Toronto

As the Spirit Moves Dance Company
A DanceWorks CoWorks Series Event
Choreography: Jasmyn Fyffe
June 25 & 26 - Dancemakers Centre, Toronto

Artistic Director Jasmyn Fyffe was kind enough to invite me to the company's dress rehearsal for this weekend's show in the Distillery District (full details below, along with the credits).

Warfare is an ambitious work in 10 short segments that incorporates dance, live and recorded music, opera and even spoken word in an exploration of the notion of war and conflict. The young ASM Company (founded in 2007) looks to add socially relevant content to dance performance, and in that vein, the piece is highly theatrical.

The choreographic vocabulary ranges from the agitated movements of Dry Cry, the first scene, to more meditative passages. In effect, it's a nicely varied programme that alternates solo and ensemble work, theatrical movement and passages of classic modern dance with an emotional range from sadness and anguish to hope.

Musical accompaniment was inspired and expressive, including original compositions that I'd describe as melodic avant garde and odd instruments I couldn't place (something like a  horn with strings that's played also as percussion?) Original pieces by ODD Opera and Pangea Sound Collective also use rhythmic whispers and operatic singing in a multi-layered web that was more than a simple backdrop to the dancers.

The various threads of dramaturgy and music come together in the talents of dancers who made the piece look effortless. Its multi-pronged approach works on all levels for performance I found quite absorbing.

Dancemakers Centre for Creation
55 Mill Street,
Case Goods Building (74) #304
Toronto, ON

Jasmyn Fyffe (Artistic Director, choreographer)
Sandra Clarke
Ashlee Deweerd
Kathy Lewis
Ashley Tyson
Kayla Tyson
Andrew Blackwood
Jasmine Graham
Colleen Phillips

Michelle Righetti
Stephen Targett
Laura-Beth Gray

All photographs by Omer Yukseker


  1. Last night I attended "WAR" choreographed by Jasmyn Fyffe one of Canada's up and coming dancers. The hour long piece was a journey of grief, anger, resistance, survival, hope, joy and victory. As you watched, you became drawn into the essence of each piece and lived the journey the dancers took with each movement...We...ll done ASM (As The Spirit Moves) Dance Ensemble, well done...Dianne Robinson

  2. The instrument used by Odd Opera here is called a 'Micellophon' (mee-ch-elle-oh-phon). It is a one-of-a-kind experimental instrument created by Michelle Righetti in 2005. It can be simultaneously played like a didjeridoo, used to amplify the voice, and played like a single-string Cello. All of the sounds are mixed and amplified through the bell of the instrument to provide a warm, resonant, amplified sound.

  3. Can't WAIT to see it tonight!

  4. Thanks so much for responding. It was quite fascinating!

  5. Warfare as a pure entertainment vehicle was brilliant. As an artistic work, I would also say that it was brilliant. I found myself engrossed in the movement of the work and its subtlety. I took the opportunity to glance at the audience during the performance and everyone seemed fully attentive to what was happening. My favourite piece was "When I am smiling". For the most part, the show was exhilirating and exciting. Jasmyn Fyffe's work can only move upward and onwasrd. There are many possibilities going forward for the work and performances of ASM.
    Jim Gibbons