what belongs to you

Dates and Venue 5 & 6 July 2014, 8pm | Scotiabank Dance Centre, 677 Davie Street

Dancers Lisa Gelley, Josh Martin, Erika Mitsuhashi, Jane Osborne and Bevin Poole

Choreography Vanessa Goodman Lighting Design James Proudfoot Original Sound Gabriel Saloman

Reviewer John Jane

Being the recipient of last year’s Iris Garland Emerging Choreographer Award gave Vanessa Goodman the support to develop her first full-length work what belongs to you. It’s a stylishly complex work that seeks inspiration from Abraham Harold Maslow’s theory of the ‘Hierarchy of Needs.’

Though essentially non-linear, what belongs to you metes out a nebulous narrative of an odyssey of human desire that explores the basic senses of taste, touch, sight and sound. Goodman’s dance piece is set to Gabriel Saloman’s bass-heavy industrial score and features five dancers playing with, falling into and wrapping themselves around dozens of balloons. The balloons aren’t just inanimate props, they are a dynamic element of the surreal vision that the choreographer creates.

The performance itself begins in dramatic fashion with five dancers shrouded in balloons advancing towards the front of the stage with their image pierced by overhead halogen strobe lights. Four of the dancers fall to the floor still covered in round, white balloons, leaving a solo dancer to writhe free of those weightless encumbrances.

In another kinetic sequence, balloons are propelled by forced air against two female dancers (Bevin Poole and Jane Osborne) at the back of the stage as they kiss and embrace. The display of sensuous physicality is characteristic of Goodman’s finely detailed choreography.

The four female dancers, attired similarly, but not identically, in close-fitting jeans and loose-fitting shirts, execute the physically demanding dance vocabulary with incredible athleticism. Josh Martin, the only male dancer, performs with more aggressive syntax that often appears random and esoteric.

James Proudfoot’s dramatic lighting creates an aesthetic dimension, while Saloman’s own compelling score seems entirely relevant to this imaginative work.

Vanessa Goodman is co-artistic director of The Contingency Plan, a Vancouver based contemporary dance collective. No doubt this talented artist will get some deserved buzz for her work from appearing on this week’s cover of the Georgia Straight.

© 2014 John Jane