Dates and Venue 4 - 6 June @ 8.00 pm | Moberly Arts & Cultural Centre, Vancouver

Reviewer Ed Farolan

Desirée Dunbar Dance Project's 12th Connecting Community Dance Series was an evening of new contemporary dance. Featuring work by Desirée Dunbar, The Contingency Plan, Puppet Heresy, Brenna McLaud, Sudnya Mulye, Peter Starr and Startdance.

Dunbar's His Story/My Story was well-choreographed. I didn't quite understand the connection of the theme with the dance. The theme dealt with brining and sharing stories of the dancers' grandfathers. The only thing I saw that was remotely connected to a grandfather was the use of dark suits. But despite this vague connection, I found the style and form of dancing interesting. There was a lot of physical activity, graceful synchronization, and a natural flow to the movements.

After all, Marshall McLuhan, that Canadian media expert of the 1960s, came up with the theory that "the medium is the message". In other words, a work's content doesn't necessarily convey the message; a message can also be gotten through the medium. And this is precisely what modern dance is all about now: looking for the message in the style, the form; in other words, the way the dance is handled. And in Dunbar's case, I'd say I liked it because it was good choreography and well-performed.

The other dance which carried this ambiguity of message/content was Your Turn by another young group of dancers, Puppet Heresy. This dance looked more like a study rather than a full-fledged dance. Although I found the dancers talented, I would have wanted to see more energy in their performance. It appeared a bit lacadaisical to me.

Vanessa Goodman's Character Study # 1 was, I suppose, not intended to be a full dance, but rather a study. However, I don't believe in dance mixed with narration. I think dance should be accompanied only by music. However, in contemporary dance, it appears that anything goes, as the saying goes. And what Goodman did was dance with the accompaniment of music and narration. As a study, I think it wasn't too bad. But I was hoping to see her do a full-fledged dance.

Another soloist who started off the programme was Sudnya Mulye. I don't understand why this classic dance from India was included in this programme of contemporary dance. Although I found her dancing exquisite, it should have been included in a programme of classic international dances rather than in this one which was tagged "an evening of new contemporary dance"..

The Dancing on the Edge Festival is coming soon, and I hope to see these dancers perform again in this festival.

© 2010 Ed Farolan