Wen Wei Dance
Three Sixty Five

Reviewer Ed Farolan

Dates and Venue 10 – 11 July 2009 | Vancouver Playhouse

There is one word that describes this one-hour performance: agonizing. I left the Playhouse with a headache, not so much because of the dancers, but more so, because of the music. At one point I had to put a finger in my left ear because of the screeching sounds of an electronic violin. In the early part of the 20th century, there was a French playwright called Artaud, and critics coined his kind of theatre as the "theatre of cruelty". Artaud's motif was to create theatre to annoy the audience...thus, the word "cruelty".

I'm not against the beautiful choreography of Wen Wei. The dancers were excellent...they danced in harmony, although at times, I felt bored because there was a lack of variety in the sequences. I was also impressed by James Proudfoot's lighting design. The costumes by Kate Burrows were simple. The dancers wore tight white pants. I got the impression that this was some kind of sci-fi where everyone looked the same. Even when all six dancers took off their shirts and showed their titties, they all looked uniform. Of course, the women's breasts were slightly larger.

But this new wave or new age of music, deconstructing the classics, or as the programme notes point out, "the deconstructed electronic version of Vivaldi....reworked by Giorgio Magnanensi"...forgive my words, but this is pure garbage. I don't mind innovating the classics electronicwise or otherwise, but screeching sounds to give an audience terrible headaches, if this is the intention, hats off to you, my friend, welcome to the Artaud Fan Club.

Anyhow, I suppose the intention of Dancing on the Edge is to produce new and creative dances, and I'm all for that so long as the audience feels good after the performance. On the other hand, it's hard to tell with contemporary dance. You either like it or you don't. And perhaps some like to feel edgy at the end. I don't

© 2009 Ed Farolan