Volume 92, Issue 46

Wednesday, November 25, 1998



Grand flirts with dance

By Sara Martel
Gazette Writer

The Toronto Dance Theatre accomplished the arduous task of capturing energy, conflict, vibrancy, despair and life all within two hours of modern dance. Their production, Flirtations, visited The Grand Theatre Saturday night and with distinct music and choreography, the audience was indulged with atmospheric and emotive variety.

The exciting performance began with an energetic section entitled "Good Vibes." Lending to its energy was the electric feel of the music and costumes. The loose, flailing motion and shimmering costumes gave the illusion of flickering flames against a black set. Choreographer Mitch Kirsh included beautiful suspension which added to the seeming defiance of gravity.

From this, the audience moved to Christopher House's "Encarnado," inspired by Homer's Iliad and characterized by darkness and tension. Shadows cast by top lighting accentuated the muscular physique of the two male dancers, adding a corporeal element. The movement was slow and detailed, as the conflict of the Trojan War was abstractly, yet dramatically, reflected in the dancers' dependence on each other's strength.

Another great contrast ensued during James Kudelka's "The Provincial Suite." For the first time the black backdrop changed to different colours, as each colour reflected the myriad moods of the dance.

This was the most vibrant theatrical piece due to over-dramatized facial expressions and actions. As well, the bright, full dresses worn by both the male and female dancers, along with classical music, created a satiric sense of traditional ballet.

The fourth section entitled "Fjeld," Norwegian for "barren plateau," was beautifully sad, including four distinct but sombre dances. Among the most poignant images of these was the saviour figure, on whom the other dancers would drape their delicate, yet stalwart bodies. Meanwhile, the dull, swaddled costumes mirrored the slow, draping movement created by Christopher House.

House triumphed again in the final section entitled "Vena Cava." A lively heartbeat was created by rapid drums and violin, which created the quick twirling movement that turned the dancer's skirts into splashes of red against the black set.

Together, the disparate parts of Flirtations made it impossible to name a singular atmosphere. Instead, the defining characteristics of this performance were its unique style, evocative elements and kinetic richness.

To Contact The Arts and Entertainment Department: gazette.entertainment@julian.uwo.ca

Copyright The Gazette 1998