DANCE & DESIGN: Old & Young and Reckless Together #35 allows its audience to relive the ancient tradition of communicating through body movement with a series of simple, yet elegant, works. As a collaboration between the Toronto School of Arts and Dancemakers, this collection of original performances no doubt left the audience in awe and shock with every piece.
One unique feature of this production was its constant state of unexpected change. In the beginning, the entire audience was invited on stage for a warm-up exercise, lead by performer Amanda Acorn, after which she gathered the audience around a small carpet and shocked everyone with her shaking dance (I honestly thought she might be having a seizure).
Some moments of this unexpected state of change were pleasant. In her short piece entitled Yin and Yang, Meredith Thompson showed the transition between happiness and sorrow, and child-like behaviour and serious tones, while depicting the inner struggle of establishing identity. The fact that she could tell this story with such raw power through movement, and without voice, demonstrates the uniqueness of this genre.
Other moments left the audience and myself dazzled and uncomfortable. In Out There, performers Andrew Hartley and Emma Kerson made a series of what seemed to be meaningless movements coupled with some interesting text. Under the soothing tone of Chopin, the result of this craziness lead to the audience breaking into laughter out of pure discomfort or general lack of knowing how to properly react. At one point, the performers pulled out a neon-green baby prop, which they promptly began flying around the stage. Although this piece was weird by all definitions and degrees of that word, I felt that it still had an interesting message when Kerson said, “We need to know if we’re alone.” Perhaps the question and performance sought to ask whether the performers were alone in appreciating their skit.
In stark contrast of meaning and message, Undone by Chantelle Mostacho and Kassi Scott struck the hearts of the audience and rendered the entire room silent, eagerly awaiting what was to come. A story of “layering and shedding skin” made the audience think about the nature of people in relationships. People seem to be looking for someone who is exactly like them, but when they find that person and notice their faults they do not realize that perhaps those faults are within them as well. Expressed through motions of push-and-pull, contrasting levels and dim lighting, this performance was, without a doubt, a personal highlight of the evening.
Over all, as expressed by Claudia Moore, “This is not your traditional ‘finished product production’ – the [performers] were given about eight weeks with about one class per week to create their pieces…if anything this production is an opportunity for young performers to gain experiences and find their path in dance.”
This production was presented by MOonhORsE Dance Theatre. To learn more visit moonhorsedance.com.