Dancing on the Edge

Compagnie Marie Chouinard

Dates 6 - 15 July 2006 Venue Centennial Theatre, North Vancouver
Reviewer John Jane

Marie Chouinard

Through Dancing on the Edge, North Vancouverites had a unique opportunity to see an inspiring and provocative 60 minute programme of contemporary dance performed by one the most renowned dance companies in North America, if not the world.

Marie Chouinard is considered to be at the forefront of Canada's experimental and contemporary choreographers, and who has also earned acclaim on the international scene.

The programme offers two diverse works, one, danced to Igor Stravinsky’s Le Sacre du Printemps. The other, the first of the evening, is Claude Debussy’s L'Apres-midi d'une Faune. Though originally choreographed as a solo for herself, on this occasion Faune is performed by company veteran, Carol Prieur.

Ms Prieur does not dance by just moving her hands and feet. Every tendon and tissue in her body moves to articulate her interpretation. She first appears on stage as a single dancer, wearing a white spandex unitard and a horned headdress. As the Faune, she is risqué, even verging on the sexually vulgar. Chouinard has developed a reputation for profane revelation through movement. This piece is a fine example of primitive earthiness and how jarred movements can yet be fluid and aesthetic.

If Faune is linear in its interpretation, Le Sacre du Printemps (The Rite of Spring) is very much non-linear and doesn’t appear to affect resolution. Stravinsky’s music is itself angular and discordant, depicting images of pagan sacrifice and ritualistic spirituality.

Chouinard’s avant-garde adaptation of Le Sacre is truly compelling. The dancer’s delivery of the dance moves are urgent and frenzied provoking desire and stimulation of the senses. Though, what makes this work enthralling is the risk Chouinard takes in her raw interpretation of sexual awakening.

The responsibility for costume design is attributed to Liz Vandal. For Le Sacre all dancers, both male and female perform topless and barefoot, dressed in identical black swimwear. For this production, Ms Vandal would seem to have made an easy dollar.

Some choreographers are talented in presenting dance that is virtuosic, some contribute theatricality. Marie Chouinard accomplishes both.

© 2006 John Jane