Olivia Aubrecht attended Eunoia with Sara Coffin last night and was kind enough to let me in on the experience, contributing to Halifax Dance Seen. Thanks Olivia!
Eunoia is the shortest English word containing all five vowels. It comes from the Greek word εὔνοια, meaning “beautiful thinking.”
Fujiwara Dance took the stage with their new show “Eunoia” this weekend at the Sir James Dunn Theatre as a part of Live Art’s fall program. As I entered the theatre the dancers were casually welcoming the audience, removing any formalities between performer and audience. The show opened with a game of hangman to get our literary brains churning, and generating words is what our brain would do for the next 75 minutes.
Inspired by a book of poetry written by Christian Bok, Eunoia isolates each vowel to exhibit its distinct personality. These restrictions created a rich textual, yet somewhat tumultuous experience. It became a game of filling in the blanks and connecting the poetry to movement; resulting in a playful atmosphere. As the dancers passed along a singular microphone, we began to associate their individualism with the respective vowel.
As the performance proceeded it was easy to distinguish between the chapters. The change of costumes and text along the backdrop made a clear shift of focus from one vowel to another.
Once we reached the “O” chapter, dancer Miko Sobreira started snapping phOtO’s of the audience which were then reproduced through the projector and displayed onstage. Meanwhile the other dancers were playing gOlf, yO-yO, engaging the audience in crOsswOrds and even cooking pOpcOrn (which created another tasty sensory experience). Soon enough, the jumble of O words started to tumble across the dancer’s bodies, creating an unforgettable image of falling snow, or falling O’s.
The combination of moving bodies, human dialect, soundscape, color-coded costumes, flowing video design and audience participation made for a heart-warming experience with Fujiwara Dance. My brain did not stop working to connect the images, sounds and poetry together. You might even say I was “beautifully thinking” the entire time.