Contemporary Dance | Kathleen Rea In Five Angels On The Steps

Contemporary Dance
Kathleen Rea In Five Angels On The Steps
November 19 to 21, 2021

Livestream replay available until midnight, November 22

Five Angels on the Steps is an expressive roller coaster of movement and emotions, and a riveting showcase for the talents of dancer Kathleen Rea. Choreographer Newton Moraes' piece incorporates a wide range of modes and movements, with a common thread of humanity at their core.

Five Angels on the Steps (Kathleen Rea)
Kathleen Rea in Five Angels on the Steps (Photo by David Hou)

The title for the piece comes from a near-death experience of Rea's. She felt like she was floating outside of her own body, with five angels in attendance. What she kept from that experience is what inspired the dance. 

In the performance, the angels are ever present in the form of five large cylinders, yellow and red. It's part of a simple set, but one that the performance uses to its full extent. She uses both the cylinders and Skelly, one of those plastic teaching skeletons, to good effect as props, set pieces, and pseudo dance partners. 

The piece unfolds in segments or episodes, each denoted by different accompaniment, and a different mood or theme. Accompaniment for the performance ranges from dry spoken word passages explaining intricate bits about human anatomy, to music, from contemporary and traditional Western-style classical compositions to hip hop. 

Sharon DiGenova, one of Toronto's under-appreciated theatre stars, adds an innovative lighting design that actually becomes part of the dance in some passages. 

The overall effect is alternately weird and wonderful, poignant and dignified, unsettling and obscure. What unites it is Rea's deeply considered performance. She conveys pure emotions and complex movement with equal facility. 

Kathleen Rea in Five Angels on the Steps
Kathleen Rea in Five Angels on the Steps (Photo by David Hou)

Kathleen Rea has danced with Canada's Ballet Jorgen, the National Ballet of Canada, and Tiroler Landestheater (Austria) before turning to choreography, and became director of Toronto's REAson d’etre dance production, producing dance jams, film festivals, and productions. She has choreographed over 40 dance works and been nominated for 5 DORA awards.

As a mature dancer, her movements are fluid, loaded with nuance, and illuminated by a rich dramatic facility. Her facial expressions and posture take the audience through a meditation on the whirlwind of life, from love and longing to death, and a few passages of anatomy lessons. It's a return to the stage for the noted choreographer. 

Kathleen also lives with autism and a learning disability. Despite the fact that it takes her about 8 times longer than average to write, she's also a published author with a Master’s Degree in Expressive Arts.

Brazilian-Canadian choreographer Newton Moraes has created more than 50 works since his arrival in Canada in 1991, for his Newton Moraes Dance Theatre as well as an increasingly wide circle of other dancers and companies.

Angels on the Steps
Choreographer - Newton Moraes
Dancer - Kathleen Rea
Lighting Design - Sharon DiGenova
Publicity Photos - David Hou

CONTENT WARNING: “Five angels on the Steps”is only suitable for a mature audience (16 plus) due to nudity, and sexual and mature themes that are explored.