In presenting an isolated portal into the fearful mind, Pro Arte Danza offers its audience a new atmosphere to convey the paranoia of modern societal expectations in their segment-based movement piece, entitled Short Stories. In representing a collage of middle class paranoia, Artistic Director Roberto Campanella organizes three segments of dance that come together to capture what can only be described as a manifestation of fear brought on by modern societal pressure, and the natural fears that it places in the individual.
To begin with, the piece itself offers an interesting contrast between fluid and sharp movement in conjunction with the music and lighting. In the first segment, entitled “Three Menandwomen Three”, choreographed by Adam Paolozza, we are introduced to the performers, who are wearing white sacs over their faces, moving in a robotic fashion with one another. After removing the sacs from their faces, the ambiguity of the dancers vanishes, as they are given identities and are made vulnerable to the audience. Their movements then become displays of controlled reflexes, bringing to life the awareness of the dancers around them.
The second segment, titled “Semele”, choreographed by Matjash Mrozewski, seemed to have had a more straightforward narrative, displaying betrayal and manipulation in the midst of a tragic love triangle. This piece seemed to contrast interestingly between a cycle of steadily focused lighting and strobe lights. During the scenes in which dancer Louis Laberge-Côté dances with the innocent and naïve Valerie Calam, we are given a simple lighting scheme that depicts a single image of what seems to be a man playfully seducing a woman. From this, the lighting cues transition into a rapid flashing of strobe lights as the man confronts the broken Anisa Tejpar, breaking the fluidity of the movement and inducing a sense of distress to the audience (which seemed to already be present throughout the piece when Anisa’s character was initially introduced).
The final segment titled “Story Inside”, much like the name suggests follows an inner monologue that deals with the inner turmoil of the human condition and our constant fear of failure. Choreographed by Robert Glumbek, this piece seemed to stick out as the most interesting of the three, due to its use of sound in conjunction with movement on stage. In this piece, the music is replaced by a monologue that addresses the fears of a man, whilst the movement on stage acts as a manifestation of his anxiety. This final piece seemed to anchor the latter particularly well, acting as a vehicle of societal expectations, using paranoia and fear as the fuel.
All and all, Pro Arte Danza’s look into the mind provides for an interesting experience that successfully thrusts forward the concept of modern day anxiety and tragedy in the modern human mind.
Venue: The Wychwood Theatre (Studio 176 in the Artscape Wychwood Barns)