cet article est en anglais seulement
At the opening night of Excavations, we have discovered three new choreographies and a homogeneous group of dancers. They fit so well all together, at a certain point one could hardly differentiate them. Every choreography has a clear structure, which makes it easier for the audience to follow the narration. We can also find a line, a structure for the entire show that includes the three works. For sure, this night told us a lot about humans.
from Adam to ashes begins on the floor. An organized heap of bodies start moving slowly. This choreography by Tyler Angell explores slow and refined movements. The dancers disperse and discover their own skin, caress without touching, they also find their partners’ skin… still without touching, evocation is the key word here. Some beautiful images will stick to mind (the two hands veiling the face of another dancer was so strong). These moments of grace and subtlety are voluntarily broken by what the choreographer describes as barbaric behaviour. Moments of rawness, moments when the beast we hide in each of us takes over. Tyler Angell has existential questions he will not answer. The end repeats the beginning, it is a non-ending story. Fatality over self-control.
Very close aesthetically to Angell’s piece, soft music, complements it. The first choreography was all about the surface of the human, the visible. Irena Ponizova goes inside the body where the heart and the head are. When someone cannot find her/himself, when the mind disconnects from the soul, what happens? The body collapses, bounces and falls again. Rises, and falls/fails, and so on for so many times! The spectators are in awe at the mastery in the art of falling and bouncing these dancers have. The fall becomes a metaphor for the break of consciousness, dissociation, a very efficient metaphor. The unexpected final image is punchy and strong. The choreography offers a lot to reflect on later.
Head over Heels has a flying start. Dancers strip (partially) their friends to throw themselves into a hilarious dance with sexual content on a schmaltzy jazz song. Being sassy, suggestive always is an excellent way to get the attention back of the audience. The first two pieces studied the body, the mind, and the soul. The show concludes with a torrid exploration of relationships between humans. Two, three or a whole bunch of them, they interact with each other in traditional or innovative ways. Sometimes roles are traded: he says he loves her, she won’t say it back. Sometimes the domination of an ego overwhelms the entire group, this being imaged by a very intriguing slow bodysurfing episode. Sometimes the domination of a small group overwhelms an individual. Funny, always on the fence to be a bit vulgar, but not really finally, this last part of the evening will keep you on the edge of your chair and will make you smile.
Choreographies are very well executed; the stress of the premiere behind, the synchronisation of the dancers should be perfect. A lot of thinking has been done on the quality of movements and how they would be performed. Considering the young age of the artists, there were very few clichés, and the rare “borrowed” movements were well integrated. Nostos Collectives is a good ticket. The show would benefit to be seen on a larger stage with a bigger production. The coherence and the quality of the performances are convincing, the energy and the eagerness of these emerging artists are refreshing. If the definition of a collective is to be a number of persons as one group or a whole; Nostos prove tonight they were a true collective.
Be curious, it always pay.
Excavations, by Nostos Collectives is presented tonight and tomorrow night at 8pm (April 21 and 22) at Winchester Street Theatre, 80 Winchester St, Toronto
General admission: $20
Students/Seniors/Arts Workers $15
about the author:
Normand Babin is a professional pianist, working and living in Toronto since 2014, he also writes about arts for many years. In Montréal he was writing for his blog montréalistement, la Scena Musicale, La Recrue du Mois and others, he launched neomemoire in April 2018 where he is chief editor and author.