Close Reach: A treat from the East

The Dance Seen

Like a good home cooked meal Close Reach is full of familiarity and comfort, a show that makes you feel at home, and brings you on a wild journey all at once.
Beginning with Live from the Flash Pan created by Cory Bowles the audience is given a little taste of the woes of a rock star looking for meaning in their day to day ritual of performance. What is it to deal with a group of people who look to you for entertainment? As an artist you know, as an audience you wonder. A mix of theatre dance and music, the choreography pushes the dancer to use voice and precarious positions while embodying the angst of this character. Rhonda’s interpretation shows her experience with just this situation. And, as always, she awes with her impossible physicality.
Sable Island choreographed by Serge Bennathan is danced by the ladies of Mocean. One of my favourite parts of this piece is when the dancers whom are all very different in physicality training and performance particulars, run with abandon through the space. When was the last time you ran with total freedom as you did when you were small? Part of Nova Scotia that connects us is the freedom we feel in this beautiful land. The vast oceans, the endless fields that we all have the privilege of looking upon and moving through. Simplicity worked so well here. Gazing up into the light, soft hand gestures, the togetherness of dancers on stage truly created a scenery welcomed by the Nova Scotian audience. The grouping together and exhaustion inducing aspects of the performance also commented on the work of artists and how similarly they rely on their instincts to navigate the tumultuous environment of art making.
All of this translated through the movement envisioned by Bennethan, inspired by the wonders of the endeared island within close reach but so precious only few are allowed to visit. Incredible visions of aggressive survival are created by solo works amongst the attentive whole, characterization stretched by tonality of the body and an interconnected challenge of the same theme that take you on a journey to this mysterious world.
Hearing Bennethan talk so passionately about the island and his research gave me the sense that he truly cared about not only his own process but what the audience would feel while watching the performance.
Set to hauntingly beautiful live music composition by Bertrand Chenier, the piece leaves you not with questions but with a sigh of familiarity. A wonderfully physical and moving performance by Sara Coffin, Susanne Chui, Gillian Seaward-Boone, Jacinte Armstrong and Rhonda Baker whom have each worked tirelessly throughout their career and (lucky for us) have landed back in Nova Scotia to dance as Mocean Dance Company. Exceptional dance made at home for Nova Scotians to enjoy and beam with pride to house such a talented group of artists.