Soaring high yet landing on their feet, TOES for Dance creates a piece of modern art that needs no explanation, only eyes and ears. In their two hour presentation of a multitude of choreographers from Toronto and New York, knees and toes/NYs and TOs offers an experience close to that of the injection of music to the heart and the struggle and joy that the artist’s journey displays on a daily basis. Created by artistic directors David Norsworthy and Kristen Carcone, Knees and Toes is currently touring across Ontario, engaging youth and encouraging education through expression, by making contemporary dance more accessible to both youth and the general suburban populous.
The show itself consisted of 15 segments of carefully choreographed arrangements, all ranging in length from one minute to 10 minutes, depending on the piece. Each piece had a different choreographer, and in its own right, expressed a range of different sensations from madness to gentle seduction. A piece that had particularly stuck out in my mind was in fact the opening number, choreographed by Bryan Arias titled “Without Notice.” The piece began with the sound of rainfall, accompanied by the gentle melodic piano of Frederic Chopin. As the dancers began to perform, their fluid movement resembled what could almost be described as that of a dolphin swimming through what seemed like an aquarium of honey that changed consistencies with the music at hand. The performers themselves, Lea Ved, Kate Holden and Robbie Moore displayed impeccable amounts of control as they graced the stage with their sharply fluid techniques and their uncanny ability to turn the stage into a floating chamber of spirits.
In addition to the choreography, I would even go as far as to say that I would have not enjoyed the performance as much if it were not for the intriguing lighting scheme itself. Aside from having placed a light in almost every perfect angle of the theatre, the delicately controlled lighting scheme created for a portrait of vulnerability, and invited us to use this vulnerability as therapy for the mind.
A particularly interesting use of the lights, I found, was well established in the piece titled “Academy,” with their use of the light from the floor downstage, which lit the faces of the performers once they had moved downstage towards the audience. In addition to this, the simple yet delicate use of the six Fresnels in “Without Notice,” displayed an effective use of contours whilst using the downstage lights once again to view the faces of the performers towards the end of the piece.
All in all, knees and toes/NYs and TOs offers a very interesting assortment of works, keeping its audience engaged through its variety, its content and its varying stage texture, providing for an orchestra of emotion and music in its physical form.
For more information about TOES for dance, visit http://www.toesfordance.ca/upcoming.
Photo credit: Stephen Delas Heras