Dancing Relationship to Self, Other Nature and Technology

The Dance Seen

Tearing down after a show is a favourite tradition of mine. This weekend I caught up with Jacinte Armstrong and Kathleen Doherty to help with rolling up the marley flooring at DANSpace. They were a little tired but clearly exuberant about this past weekend’s Kinetic Studio Showing.

The result of bringing dancers from across Canada to show their ideas and open a window to what’s beyond our city is truly exciting. Not being able to make it out to the show was a disappointment as I wasn’t feeling well. However, I did catch what I could from the Live Streaming service that Kinetic tried for the first time on Saturday.

Molly JohnsonKathleen Doherty
Molly Johnson

I asked Jacinte what she thought and she was very excited about this new technology however expressed concern about potential debate that could arise. First off, being there in person is without hesitation, the best way to see a show. Besides technical issues that can and often do occur with this type of live streaming there are countless other pitfalls such as not being present to mingle with the crowd, missing the nuances of the performers’ facial expressions and there is definitely something to be said about feeling the real energy a person exudes when in performance. However, for those whom have relatives living away Dustin Harvey’s contribution with xosecret by way of live streaming is a great way to connect with people living abroad and give them a piece of the performance. Our relationship to technology is really becoming more of a dependence than a convenience, and can often times get in the way of our real life relationships.

Which brings me to the show. One of the singular most prominent themes you will see in dance, is relationship. Through dance we explore our relationship to self, other, community and nature. The diversity of the programming allowed Saturday’s live and streaming audience to consider all of these avenues.

Molly Johnson started off the evening with her tale of solitude. What it means be alone in a world full of others. Returning from Toronto and originating from Cape Breton she has various perspectives to draw from. Her performance had already began as people filed in. The packed house was offered moments of curiosity, surprise and quietude during this introspective journey.

Don Rieder performed next, beginning with a gestural movement sequence into a tale of a Nova Scotian community and a grieving woman having lost her love at sea. He switches from one character to the next, seamlessly stitching together a tale of love, loss and support. It is quite a talent to convey relationship between not just two people but a whole community though story telling voice and gesture. His movements reflected his tale: illustrating his story beautifully.

Michele Slattery partnered with Laura Battcock to delve into their relationship to the natural world with Michele’s choreography inspired by a canoe trip they took in Labrador. Slattery began onstage alone, slowly building a pallet of choreography. She made her way upstage where Laura entered and their duet became reminiscent of a rolling river, the dynamics changing from smooth and calm to tumbling and rough. The toll nature can take on someone’s physicality (especially battling a wild river in a canoe) is great however the benefit to the psyche was clear in this piece. The beautiful blue skirts added grace to their movement as they tumbled and suspended through the space together.

Chloe Hart and Aliah Schwartz brought us a comedic take on relationship from Montreal. The use of props helped set the scene where two people are in the midst of dilemma between “aggression and compassion”. Reminding me of the days of roommates with blow dryers, blenders and all around annoying behaviours bringing out the worst in each character; this piece was light hearted and punchy.

I hope if you were there in person you had the chance to congratulate the performers on their thought provoking performances. With a little nod to technology this past weekend, Kinetic Studio will continue to experiment with the possibilities Live Streaming provides.

Their next Open Studio Series will be held February 27&28 2016. I hope you will join us for another evening of thoughtful and questioning dance.