Volume 93, Issue 71

Friday, February 4, 2000


Weekend Pass

Lady ready to vamp it up in the name of pride

Inspired artists pose twin threat

Dance troupe WerkS


Dance troupe WerkS

©Casey Lessard/Gazette

By Sara Martel
Gazette Staff

Among all the options for things to do this weekend, you'll be hard-pressed to find one offering humour, drama, beauty, vibrancy, emotion and talent. That is, of course, unless you experience Dance WerkS 2000.

Since 1988, the UWO Dance Company has offered a performance aimed at combining young and university level dancers in a show sure to sate all stylistic tastes. This year's effort is a particularly impressive one, which rivals even last year's solid offering.

"There is more variety [this year], in terms of more dance genres. Basically it's an opportunity for people who don't know a lot about dance to see a variety of styles and qualities. It's an easy introduction because it is an easy show to watch. It's very entertaining," suggests Donna Peterson, artistic director and associate professor of dance in the school of kinesiology.

Peterson's confidence in this artistic venture is quite deserved. The performance not only offers creative and diverse choreography, but a high calibre of ability and technical flare to support it. The result is a moving and entertaining bill, hard not to enjoy. The most defining quality of this Werks is its constant change in style and mood.

On the dramatic side there is "Lead Us Not Into Temptation," performed by dancers from the Victoria Carter London Dance Centre. This piece follows the struggle between good and evil, depicted by dancers in black and white, flowing skirts and masquerade masks. The choreographed battle is steeped in grace and tension and backed with a poignant musical mix of "Cry Little Sister" from The Lost Boys and the epic "O Fortuna."

Although also dramatic, "What About..." by the UWO Dance Company is completely distinct from the aforementioned number. Choreographed by Gail Manning to Janet Jackson's song "What About That," this piece deals with the harsh yet familiar theme of damaging relationships and self-empowerment. This piece was also featured in last year's show and is well worth resurrecting, as the dancers' passion truly shines here.

Depending less on overt thematic components and more on colour and movement is "Flame," from Western's troupe and "Pavane For A Dead River," performed by the Children's Dance Project. The first of these is a vibrant piece characterized by red, flowing costumes. The scarves woven into the dance accentuates the colour and mesmerizing movement. The latter is much more sombre, but still captivating, with the dancers in sleek white suits. Again, the movement in this piece is outstanding and ethereal enough to give the sense of particles shimmering underwater.

Perhaps the most original of the numbers is the UWO Dance Company's "Time Bomb." Here, each dancer represents a typical male fantasy, such as a nurse, school girl and career woman among others.

The music and choreography here is seductive and yet bitter and empowering as well. This piece truly encapsulates how far dance can be taken as a thematic and provocative art form.

Everyone in the audience will walk away from this one with a different feeling and interpretation. In fact, the diversity and ingenuity of this entire performance guarantees only unique and satisfied reactions from anyone who sees Dance WerkS.

Dance WerkS 2000 runs at Talbot Theatre at 8 p.m. until Feb. 5.

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