Diverse and independent dance at OYR

By Tara DiBenedetto

Although One Yellow Rabbit and Dancers’ Studio West may seem like strange bedfellows, this isn’t their first collaboration. It is their first focus on independent Canadian choreography.

"There’s so much credence given to the larger companies that tour the country, and we wanted to present four of Canada’s freshest and most exciting independent choreo-grapers in a single evening," said Dancers’ Studio West executive producer Damon Johnson.

The choregraphers chosen include Ruth Cansfield of Winnipeg, Deborah Dunn and Estelle Clareton of Montreal and Calgary’s very own Michelle Moss.

"We chose choreographers who exemplified the incredible diversity of talent that exists in the Canadian independent dance scene," said Johnson. "Many choreographers are quite under-recognized for their talents due to a lack of exposure."

According to Johnson, the production features a diverse range of stories, music and contemporary dance styles.

"Deborah Dunn is bringing three works to this performance. One is "Fuse," in which a bauhaus tinkerbell makes a heroic yet fruitless attempt to transcend her body," he describes.

Other works in All Fours include "The Birds," a duet between Dunn and Clareton, which features music from Alfred Hitchcock’s The Birds.

Lastly, Estelle Clareton presents two pieces. "Falling" examines the motivation behind suicide, and "Je Pense a Autre Chose" was inspired by The Metamorphosis by Franz Kafka.

"It’s a fight, the body against the mind, desires against education, femininity against youth," describes Johnson.

Both Dunn’s and Clareton’s pieces are shorter in length, but are very interesting and theatrical.

"What makes these pieces so interesting is instead of the movement being attached to the music, which is found in traditional choreography, these works present the music as more of a dramatic overlay."

The other two choreographers are no less distinctive.

"Michelle Moss has created a duo of simultaneous soloists," Johnson says. "The piece, ‘Fear is a Horseman,’ is based on a traditional West African tale of spiritual visitation. A women at a water’s edge is visited and possessed by a spirit, creating a trance-like state for the dance. The style in this piece is best decribed as traditional West African strongly influenced by the Decidedly Jazz Danceworks jazz style, of which Michelle is a co-founder."

Ruth Cansfield, who is bringing "Black Angels" of the Flux Trilogy, is the senior choreographer of the four. The piece is accompanied by a recording by the Kronos Quartet, and is performed by Treasure Wadell.

The dancer is part machine, part human, part creature and part spirit representing the evolution of consciousness," explains Johnson. "It
is a rather dark piece, but beautifully danced."


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