Here To Go - 2

Dates and Venue November 24 & 26, 2009 8pm The Cultch

Reviewer Roger Wayne Eberle

Here to Go – 2 pulls into the Cultch for two performances only, November 24 and 26.  It is a collaborative dance production involving the talents of Mutable Subject, The Contingency Plan, Proverbial, and The Story of Force and Motion. 

Bursting with eccentric vitality and a spectacularly idiosyncratic coordination of movement, Justine A. Chambers and Deanna Peters of Mutable Subject perform their One + The Other with intricate intensity, bringing inner space out into the open with the precision that renders false moves obsolete.  Proverbial’s Justin Reist and Olivia Shaffer then follow hard on their heels with Colour By Number, featuring fearless force in a seemingly random cavalcade of dynamic torso-twisting pivotal give-and-take contrapuntal dance manoeuvres designed to amaze and amuse.  The two opening acts are both powerful in their own way, but One + The Other impressed me as being a more precise and unnervingly edgy performance.

Most amusing and clever of all, however, is the third number, titled High-Level Performance in Matters Involving Strength, Stamina and Sexual DriveThe Contingency Plan took their title from Poortvliet/Hyugen’s deeply inspirational 1976 book, Gnomes.  After a coyly provocative freeze frame opening highlights several carefully selected poses of two mischievous white-bearded, pot-bellied gnomes at battle, creator-performers Vanessa Goodman, Jane Osborne, and Leigha Wald get down to the cheeky play of competitive gnomes vying for the attention of a mannequin-like marionette in a red and white dress.

  This malleable marionette eventually winds up dancing stiffly, as the gnomes carry her about and force her limbs into motion, until she winds down and they carry her back to her pedestal.  The Contingency Plan’s performance is by turns clever and cute, and while the dancing does not dazzle as much as some of the other performances, it is refreshing to laugh at the cheerful antagonistic antics of the gnomes as they dally and preen in their energetic dance.

On The Other Side is created and performed by Cort Gerlock, Ellen Luchkow, Molly McDermott, Roxoliana Prus and Kimberly Stevenson of The Story of Force and Motion.  I found that the framing device of one foot square grass patches on which they pivot, and off of which they push during the course of their spirited dance to be somewhat constraining.  Nevertheless, this feature carries the weight of the implied metaphor quite well. 

The robust regularity of motion synchronized so perfectly with the sounds of Kelpe and Matt Mays’ musical accompaniment Joy Wants Eternity clearly emphasizes the truth that instead of being greener on the other side, the grass might merely stifle our movement and tie us down in ways we never imagined.  While I found some of this final performance monotonous, I imagine I would have been missing the point if I hadn’t.  What is intriguing is how much innovative mileage can be made of such seemingly monotonous movement.

All aspects of this collaborative effort are highly creative and professionally consummate.  This is a rich and varied production that is well worth the price of admission

© 2009 Roger Wayne Eberle