because the personal is cultural
First off, let me say that I’ve only been following choreographer Daniel Léveillé’s work since 2006. I’m mentioning this because, though Léveillé’s style remains just as recognizable in Solitudes duo, there are also some noticeable departures, at least to those of us who’ve only been following him for the past decade. Like Mathieu Campeau and Justin Gionet drawing circles with their hips in the first duet, which comes across as downright flirtatious. Léveillé’s choreography looks a little less cold and mechanical, a bit more theatrical.
When Ellen Furey looks up to the ceiling, her eyes are so expressive as to look frightened. For a moment, her interaction with Gionet is even messy; not as a result of the effort required, as is usually the case in Léveillé’s work, but in its very performance.
One could blame the music – which so easily colours our perception of the dance – for these changes. Léveillé predictably goes for Bach and Royer, but surprisingly slips in some classic rock (The Doors and The Beatles). It’s not just the music though. The dance is more languorous. While there must have been duos in Léveillé’s group works, I don’t recall anything ever looking this… coupley. Brianna Lombardo and Emmanuel Proulx hold hands and use all of the resulting arms’ length as tape to wrap around their partner.
Since Léveillé’s movement seems based on an aesthetic rather than on its effect, there’s usually some incidental humour that slips into the choreography. Not so here. We have to wait until the last duet with Campeau and Esther Gaudette to find some humour and it’s calculatedly funny. For starters, the dance is set to The Beatles’ “I Want You (She’s So Heavy).” Given how much Léveillé capitalizes on lifts and gravity, that choice can only be qualified as a joke. As if that weren’t enough, the dancers headbang, make the devil sign, and thrust their hips. How ironic that the more Léveillé’s dancers have clothes on, the more sexual they act. Sometimes, it looks like it could have been choreographed by Virginie Brunelle.
Solitudes duo is, like all of Léveillé’s work, a dance of every moment; there is no climax. Yet, when it ends, it still manages to feel a bit too short.
May 26-28 at 9pm
Agora de la danse
Tickets: 45$ / 30 years old and under: 38$
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