Dancing on the Edge



July 11, Vancouver Playhouse

Eclectic Dance on the Edge

by Ross Michael Pink

Vancouver's small dance circle was expanded July 11th by the innovative and eclectic dance works presented at the closing night for the DANCING ON THE EDGE festival. First off the mark was NOT ONLY BUT ALSO, a work of modern dance by choreographer Jennifer Mascall with rhythmic dancing by Tonja Livingstone.

In this work one is struck by real movement that is not constrained as one sees in classical dance. Livingstone is a dancer with vibrancy in her text and displays it with effect. Her supporting partner, who perhaps should have been highlighted more, is local dancer Alvin Tolentino who is a regal dancer whose movement flows with elegance.Some features of the performance were fast and frenetic and reminded one of the great mime Marcel Marceau at 100 hundred miles an hour. Pure innovation and fun to watch.

The second piece, THIN CITIES, choreographed by Lola MacLaughlin, features six dancers. The introduction was unique as each of the six female dancers stepped into a spotlight and completed one brief dance step before departing into darkness. This had a powerful effect and was enjoyed by the audience, moreover,  in that one brief step each of the dancers were able to convey a glimpse of personality. The work seemed to lose momentum near the end and was plodding. Perhaps the dancers were losing their energy but it was a letdown compared to the early intensity of the work.

The final piece presented was Lee Su-Feh's GECKO EATS FLY. This work featured six dancers. It is a difficult piece to warm up to with its sci-fi aura and clashing industrial music. However the artistry of Su-Feh and the talent of her choreography brought powerful and innovative dancing to the stage. She also chose costumes and colors that lent themselves well to the dance.

The audience was a near sell-out and response to the works was very good. This year marks the tenth anniversary of the festival and organizers feel good about the progress that has been achieved and the continuing demand for modern dance performances in Vancouver.

This year's Dancing on the Edge Festival sprang to life with an extraordinary performance of high tech wizardry and superb dance entitled POLES. The creative brainchild of  dancers  Pierre Paul Savoie and Jeff Hall and technical magicians Michel Lemieux and Victor Pilon, POLES  eludes an easy critique, since it is so different from anything Vancouver audiences have ever seen before.

Savoie and Hall first created this work three years ago at the Canada Dance Festival in Ottawa, and since then, they have polished the show until it glistens with a professional sheen that will stand them in good stead when they represent Canada at the cultural festival at the World's Fair in Lisbon. I have no doubt that they will inspire awe in those audiences as they did so admirably at the Vancouver Playhouse.


Copyright 1998 Ross Michael Pink