Thursday, June 23, 2011

Review: REAson d'etre Dance Productions' Unravelling the Tight Weave

Review: REAson d'etre Dance Productions
Unravelling the Tight Weave
June 23 to 25, 2011
Winchester Theatre, Toront
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Unravelling the Tight Weave is a fascinating tableau of dance theatre that explores the ties that bind us - or not - the complex and ever changing interconnections between people and fate.

The narrative is this: a man meets the Norns, female deities from Norse mythology who govern destiny. While the origins of the word Norn are unknown, some scholars speculate it comes from a word that means twine, just as the Fates of classical Greek legend spun the fates of both men and gods. Twine is an integral part of this piece, in balls of twine of varying size and a long scarf with dangling threads on the stage, all of which become part of the dance in various ways. The five dancers who represent the Norns wear loose garments with threads that unravel at the back, and begin the piece literally entwined together while the man tries to fashion precise geometric patterns on the ground with his string.

The Norns are neither good nor bad; their influence is both benevolent and malevolent by turns. They push and cajole him from his path, dancing wildly in contrast to the more precise and repetitive movements of the man and other dancers. At times they seem helpful, but ever capricious, just at the balls of thread are sometimes used playfully, at others thrown like a weapon to knock him off balance.

There's always more than one thing happening on stage. The 12 dancers connect at times as couples who embrace and entangle in each other and then separate; they dance in pairs and groups that form and reform, sometimes simply observing the movement from the side of the stage. They sit, hold, lie on and run with the balls of twine and threads from the scarf. The strings can tie them together or separate them from each other.

The choreographic language is expressive and emotional, and the dancers assume a range of dramatic roles quite convincingly. It's a varied and engaging programme aided by changes of pace and mood, and in the music which ranges from dissonant electronica to jazzy and rootsy songs.

To add to the varied approach, Unravelling the Tight Weave is part of VIVID4, which includes a second piece, The Wild in Us (see the schedule below - you can see both shows on the same days - ticketed separately). In the hour between shows, you can enjoy the giant knitting/dance installation occurring outside the theatre, and on the Friday and Saturday evening shows, there will be a pre-show talk at 8pm: The Art of Dance Dramaturgy with Kathleen Rea and Tristan Whiston

Unravelling the Tight Weave
Performers: REAson d'etre company dancers and guest artists: Yves Candau, Miranda Forbes, Samantha Farruggio, Janet Johnson, Karen Kaeja, Kirstie Keenan, Suzanne Liska, Sarah MacDonald, Jessica Runge, Holly Small, Teisha Smith and Lee Walder.
Choreography: Kathleen Rea (pictured right)
Dramaturgy: Tristan Whiston
Lighting Designer: Gabriel Cropley

VIVID4 - Show Schedules
Unraveling The Tight Weave
• 8:30 pm, Thursday June 23 to Saturday June 25, 2011
• 2:30 pm, Sunday June 26, 2011

The Wild In Us
• 7:00 to 7:30 pm, Thursday June 23 to Saturday June 25, 2011
• 1:00 to 1:30 pm, Sunday June 26, 2011

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