Dancing on the Edge
Festival Of Contemporary Dance 2012
Inheritor Album

Dates and Venue 6 & 7 July 2012, 8.30pm | Vancouver Playhouse

Choreography The 605 Collective Performers Josh Martin, Shay Kuebler, Lisa Gelley, Laura Avery, Justine Chambers & David Raymond Music Kristen Roos Film/Animation Miwa Matreyek

Reviewer John Jane

Inheritor Album is the newest collaborative creation by Lisa Gelley, Shay Kuebler and Josh Martin, co-directors of The 605 Collective. The work follows in the Vancouver based dance group’s culture of combining movement vocabulary drawn from hip-hop and house with contemporary free form dance.

For this work, 605 Collective bring in Laura Avery, Justine Chambers and David Raymond to join the principal dancers in making up a troupe of six performers. The six (3 women, 3 men) are indeed highly talented, each bringing an extrinsic, yet perspicuous talent to this highly detailed, physically demanding choreography.

Kristen Roos’s pulsating industrial score seems entirely appropriate for this ground-breaking work and visual artist Miwa Matreyek brings an extra dimension to the overall production with a mesmerizing multi-media display.

Inheritor Album explores the key themes of inheritance, succession, tribal community and even eugenics by committing to the group’s uniformity over the dancers’ individuality; it’s pure dance, but with an urgent sense of drama emanating below the surface.

The work doesn’t attempt to offer a linear narrative, but rather a collection of imaginative vignettes. It starts with dancers skittering across the floor in semi-darkness, then, in stronger light, movements are relayed around multiple circles of light projected onto the stage floor.

With much of 605 Collective’s dance vocabulary the motif development is highly inventive. One instance has the entire group standing in close single file, at which point, each dancer is carried through the line in turn and laid on the floor.

At other times, I found the combination of the percussive score and the dance syntax soporific. Near the end of the sixty-minute performance, the six dancers moved in approximate unison to what sounded like the repetitive stamping of a hydraulic press.

Modern dance is frequently dismissed as being abstruse and difficult for the mere observer to interpret. However, with Inheritor Album, I found the vocabulary to be remarkably evocative. Doubtless, some of the ideas behind this oeuvre are would be considered abstract. Nonetheless, I enjoyed the challenge of defining the dance’s seductive shapes for myself.

© 2012 John Jane