Sarah Bronsard at the St. Ambroise Montreal Fringe Festival
Choreography and performance by Sarah Bronsard (www.sarahbronsard.com)
Live music by Vergil Sharkya (hypercomposition), Simon Laroche (robotics), Dominique Soulard (guitar) and Hedi Graja (flamenco song)
MAI, June 15 to 23, 2012
REVIEWED BY BEVERLEY DAURIO FOR EVIDANCERADIO.COM
In the dark, a powerful, growing soundscape foretells change and alteration. We see a tall man at a table of electronic equipment, and then an angled arc of light exposes the dancer, seen from the back. Bent double at the waist, she is barefoot and wearing tight leotard pants and what looks like a frilled cape, in pale colours. She is like a flower out of a dream.
Her feet begin to stamp; electronic sound recedes and resounds; now we see that beside the table of electronics there is a man in a chair with a guitar; and the music varies back and forth between new and old, as the dancer focuses immense strength and discipline within her one space to the left on stage, in a tour-de-force of concentrated movement that is at once modern, flamenco, and slowly intense, something like Butoh.
In 4kg, Sarah Bronsard has created a metaphysical journey into the percussive heartbeat of flamenco. Innovative movement, from the floor to verticality, shift her slowly from an apparently unwilling (though courageous and mechant) bentness that has a defensive, protective feel, to a claimed, and deeply earned, presence; body sounds, claps and beats begin to mingle in a disciplined, contemplative transformation. The cape is released and becomes the skirt of her dress, and with it the wild, serious energy of flamenco: Bronsard dons traditional high-heeled flamenco shoes, both bound and liberated within plaintive, emotional music that feels created for an enchantress, a magician of movement.
The music, mixing live hypercomposition with its full, synthesizer sound, live guitar, a live voice of caring and desire, and physical, body sounds-- of hands against flesh, heels on the stage, and claps-- creates a strong, enmeshing texture that envelops and enhances Bronsard's evolutionary narrative.
4kg is perfectly placed in the intimate space of MAI. The lighting is subtle and effective; and the set consists of the plain black stage, against which the performers bring their strength, vulnerability, and humanness.
Bronsard takes us through dance-time, from the contemporary, abstract, still-life of the beginning of the piece, to an almost ancient freedom of deep emotional expression. And she keeps them linked, and alive, and moving.