Kickstart Festival 2010

Presented in Association with Vancouver International Dance Festival and with the Cultural Olympiad

Date and Venue 20 March @ 8pm| Roundhouse Performance Centre, 181 Roundhouse Mews, Vancouver, BC

Reviewer Nila Gopaul

Kickstart Disability Arts and Culture used to be known as the Society for Disability Arts and Culture. After the Paralympic Games and the Cultural Olympiad, we can see how one can be at odds with that title. We are now more in tune with the words "inspiration", "pride", and "authenticity" as a dynamic force that brings together emerging and star paralympians and performers with disabilities from all over the globe.

Two star performances set the stage for an unforgettable evening. To a full house Geometry of the Circle and Spatial Theory captivated its onlookers. Like Alice in Wonderland, with its elements of fantasy, Geometry of the Circle, is set in an imaginary place with two characters who work special powers in a magical garden. Geometry of the Circle is the creation of legend Peggy Baker who works closely with husband and composer Ahmed Hassan, who lives with multiple sclerosis.

To the audience's delight, Alison Denham and Mark Brose rework this extraordinary piece. To a score, reconstructed by Hassan, the duet is devoted to one another in a whimsical yet sensual kind of way. Broe in his wheelchair who flirts with sounds and Alison with her well-crafted art form work beautifully in unison. The audience, in child-like wonder, enjoys the game of cat and mouse.

If that isn't enough, in comes a double sensation with Spatial Theory: Bill Shannon and DJ Excess! Shannon, AKA "CrutchMaster," is a Brooklynite acclaimed for his work in hip hop dance and skateboard culture. By his side is DJ Excess, a New York native whose knowledge of street language is equally powerful. DJ Excess combines graffiti art and hip hop and Kung Fu in his daily dose. This duo is remarkable. The audience is hooked from the start. Music, skateboarding tricks, tricks on crutches, video clips, kinetics, humour, playfulness and philosophy are cleverly tucked into one show.

Shannon takes his audience through his techniques, slowly and methodically, so it understands. He teaches a chronology of street performance as well. Shannon excels in pathos, wit, strength of reasoning and fluency of language. There is in him that union of head and heart and endurance. His work is truly worldly, educational and masterful. Spatial Theory is one of the most entertaining shows that I have ever seen. Closing in on 40 years old, Shannon will most definitiely continue to grace the international street scene and stage while paving the way for many young hearts for years to come. Thank you to Kickstart, the Vancouver International Dance Festival and Roundhouse Performance Centre for making this happen.

© 2010 Nila Gopaul