Looking to escape the cold? Warm up with the Harbourfront Centre and Abraham.In.Motion’s collaboration of The Radio Show, directed by award winning choreographer, Kyle Abraham. This toe-tapping production features an ensemble of dancers who join forces to walk us through an iconic period featuring the life of Abraham’s father, leading up to the 1980s. The production emphasizes the importance of identity, taking audiences on a personal journey based on the historical mélange of music and popular forms of mass media; thus, being the radio.
In a personal interview prior to the performance, Abraham stated his main goal as portraying his personal history through movement and dance. As dance can be viewed as an abstracted medium, Abraham enriches the production through history and perspective. Another one of his priorities, in regards the performance, was to spark discussion regarding “the now.” Where one person may conceive a particular discomfort through music, someone else may find joy. The production thereby becomes a point of reference to which different walks of life are always emerging and crossing paths.
Ongoing thesis: Abraham succeeds.
As the theatre doors close, Abraham’s character enters and mingles amongst the audience, immediately endowing them into the performance. Although I absolutely detest any form of direct audience engagement, this is only but part of Abraham’s tactic to provoke discussion on personal experience and identity. The ongoing movement and motion of the performance is riveting and emotional, pulling the audience into the narrative and assisting to expose the past. The movement of the piece is ultimately inspired by the wide range of sounds that were appropriately chosen to reflect the eternal era.
In terms of the productions design, Costume Designer, Sarah Cubbage, draws an idealistic blend of colors and fabrics to enhance the performance by keeping the costumes mundane. As the focus of the performance lies solely on the motion, the costume pieces generously compliment the multiple fortes and key notes of the choreographed segments. On an alternate note, the production was only slightly downplayed by the lighting design of Dan Scully. Overall, the design did not provide ultimate potential to highlight the talent and fierce passion of the performers.
Needless to say, The Radio Show engages the audience into a thought provoking discussion on the simple question: “Where did we come from?” Abraham succeeds in not only portraying, but living and depicting the true essence of his father. We all have a story to tell… what’s yours?
The Radio Show runs until February 8 at the Harbourfront Centre’s, Fleck Dance Theatre. Tickets are $39 each and can be purchased online at www.harbourfrontcentre.com or by calling 416-973-4000.
photo credit: Steven Schrelber