UPdown--Suzanne Miller & Allan Paivio at the Guelph Contemporary Dance Festival


Created by Suzanne Miller and Allan Paivio

Choreography: Suzanne Miller in collaboration with Karsten Kroll

Dancers: Suzanne Miller and Karsten Kroll

Composer: Allan Paivio

Suzanne Miller & Allan Paivio Productions at the Guelph Contemporary Dance Festival

Dancetheatre David Earl Studio, Guelph

June 2, 2022


Suzanne Miller and Karsten Kroll navigate back and forth across our vision as if pulled by a driving force within. She clings to his back.Their faces have expressions that are focused and determined. There is a sense of heaviness in their movements, as if they are burdened down by life.

Splitting apart. Rolling away. Rolling back and over each other. Merging. Taking foetal positions. Clinging, with sometimes him on top. Sometimes her. Morphing into animals. Clasping his belly like a baby animal. 

Liberated and happy, like children playful and free. He jumping up and down as if on a trampoline. She whirling like a top. 

Miller's choreography reflects the cycle of birth, life, death, rebirth in nature. Like watching the seasons morphed into humans--spring, summer, winter and fall.

Takes place in a dream-like zone without time or space, where there are no limits and no earthly rules apply. Sliding off his body, seemingly dead. She is gently nurtured by him, and is lowered by him. Only to rise up, alive.

Paivio's soundscape uses a throbbing heartbeat. Rising and falling, it acts as an umbilical cord to their life force. Sound of fire crackling, escalating into fireworks. Gentle religious male and female choir voices. Suddenly rising to an apocalyptic crescendo. A ritualistic quality is reflected in the movement.

UPdown takes place in the small Dancetheatre David Earl Studio in Guelph. The woman and the man are so close to us that we can feel their sexual intimacy. Heat of their bodies. Caressing of shoulders. Perspiration on their flesh. Merging of their lips. Are we made uncomfortable by this as we become invaders of their privacy, or they ours? 

So many levels of meaning here--metaphorical, mythological and spiritual to name a few.

Miller and Paivio have a created a powerful, provocative work.