because the personal is cultural
When the door opens, the action is already unfolding. On the other side of the door, the world is coated in a pinkish hue. A continuous loud high-pitched sound is oozing out. Through the spectators who have already found a seat, we see five dancers moving: Meryem Alaoui, Ellen Furey, Jolyane Langlois, Ann Trépanier, and Amanda Acorn, choreographer of multiform(s).
The audience is sitting on stands surrounding all four sides of the white stage, lending the performance the feel of a sporting event. Appropriately, the dancers are wearing sneakers. The rest of their outfits falls into a contemporary dance trend: nice bordering on fancy clothes that are joyfully mismatched.
Whenever spectators are allowed to sit on multiple sides of the stage, I am always surprised to notice that the feeling of the proscenium stage remains. It reminds me that, despite the conventions of theatre, dance is truly three-dimensional and that it is only ever possible to see from one’s own perspective.
Though the movement differs from one performer to another, it answers to the same constraints: their bodies are forever in motion and involved in repetitions. Back and forth, from one side to the other, like a pendulum. This swinging often leads the cylindrical body into rotations. They reminds us of mechanical toys that inevitably have a limited movement range, except that the dancers’ movement changes over time, ever so slightly, but undeniably. This rocking motion can at times induce motion sickness, an experience the spectators apparently share with the performers. It is an exercise of endurance for the dancers that is hypnotic for the audience.
The performers converge to the middle of the stage, their movement becoming synchronous and picking up speed. Synchronicity focuses the gaze; dissimilarity diffuses it. Synchronicity feels light. It’s like forgetting yourself. Yet when one of the dancers falls out of it, it’s her we’d rather be. She’s the one who looks free.
With its clear concept and perpetual motion, multiform(s) shares many similarities with Henderson/Castle: voyager by Ame Henderson. However, in voyager, dancers can’t repeat any movement so that the end result is less defined, more eclectic. In multiform(s), the repetitions appear to be an outlet, like in Julia Male’s solos. As in Guilherme Botelho’s Sideways Rain and the walking that takes up most of Olivier Dubois’s Tragédie, we also feel that this could go on forever, that in fact it has been.
Different images emerge depending on the body parts that the movement brings into action. Front to back movement looks like prayer; sometimes one might even say like divine possession. Lunges inevitably remind one of the repetitions involved in exercise. And, though the arms never carve the infinity sign in the air, it is seen everywhere. One is even inclined to believe that the dancers might be immortal.
June 5-7 at 9pm
Tickets: 30$ / 30 ans et moins: 25$
has an MA in Film Studies and works in contemporary dance. His fiction has appeared in Headlight Anthology, Cactus Heart, and Birkensnake.
s.verstricht [at] gmail [dot] com