James Gnam. Foto: David Cooper
Simone Orlando. Foto: David Cooper


Lola Dance: Provincial Essays (excerpts)

Date and Venue 26 March 2009 at 12 noon | Scotiabank Dance Centre, 677 Davie St

Reviewer Ed Farolan

Excerpts of Provincial Essays from Lola Maclauglin, who passed away very recently, last March 6th, was presented for a second time at the Scotiabank Dance Centre. It was produced at the same venue last year in May. It is a stunning ensemble work that takes inspiration from the natural world and our relationship to it, and is an eclectic collection of choreographic landscapes inspired by nature, full of subtle humour and visuals.

Waterfalls, tropical flowers and rainforest visuals are flashed in the background as dancers imitate life in the natural surroundings typical of the forests and the mountains of British Columbia. After all, Maclaughlin grew up in the interior of BC and she drew inspiration from birds and animals around her. Four dancers -- Caroline Farquhar, Alison Denham, Ziyian Kwan, and Ron Stewart --, with an eclectic score ranging from Georges to new music by Ben Wilson, and sound effects of forest creatures, dance in poetic and synchronized motions, imitating the movements of birds and insects. In one seqence, Stewart interprets the robotic lifestyle of a contemporary worker, dancing mechanically, as a visual projection of an old factory is flashed in the background.

An excerpt I enjoyed the best was the flower scene which was slightly comedic, as the dancers weaved around a flower bouquet, one of them sneezing from a supposed allergy, and Italian music, so reminiscent of the old Italian ballads, is played as the dancers float in almost perfect harmony. Other than the visuals, James Proudfoot's creative lighting included the use of mobile lights focusing on the dancers as they were wheeled around, following the dancers.

Maclaughlin's choreography for this 50-minute performance is indeed beauty in motion, sophisticated, and interdicted sometimes with narrations verbally explaining the creative process. When one sees beauty in dance as this one is, you stop being a reviewer and merely linger with the imagery and movement in front of you.

© 2009 Ed Farolan