Dance Matters-- Woman's Work

Dance Matters 
Series 1-- Woman's Work
Bettina Szabo (Mtl)
Lucy Rupert (Tor)
Jane Allison Mckinney (Tor) 
Louis Laberge-Cote (Tor)
Audrey Rochette (Mtl)
Pia Bouman Studio
October 22-23 2016
Dance Matters brings exciting works in progress, works completed and works from Toronto, Montreal and points east and west to the stage, creating a chance to see dance that is challenging, entertaining and generates discussion after the show.
This Dance Matters features solos by four women choreographers and one man.  
Sequelles Choreographer Bettina Szabo (Montreal) is from Uruguay and this piece is based on childhood memories involving girls who were maltreated. She explores, with dancer Catherine Dagenais-Savard, how this abuse has affected them. The body language is very eloquent. Pierre Alexandre Maranda performs a score by Brice Gatinet, live, on double bass .
Given that Maranda stands prominently centre stage behind them, the audience is always aware of how he seems to be controlling much of the dancer's movements. His hand slides down the strings as her hands slide down her body. It is as if her body movements are triggered sometimes from outside and sometimes from within herself. Her posture when standing is tense, shoulders up. It is an effective combination of release and tension, ending with her forcefully lifting her hair and then pulling it over her face. Faceless, she walks with short tentative steps offstage, disappearing in darkness.
Choreographer/Performer Lucy Rupert (Toronto) begins her piece "I can only do this" in a sort of robotic foetal position. Then she moves, unbalanced, tentatively exploring and navigating on mats. For me, this is a symbolic representation of steps taken by a child in search of a sense of self and identity. The mats also become puzzle pieces suggestive of her efforts to put the fragments of her life together. The spaces between mats seem to ground her.
Choreographer/Performer Jane Allison McKenney (Toronto), in "Sparrow," begins with her hands and arms spread like wings against the back wall. She flaps against the wall, then slides down it. There are flapping sounds from behind, to which she responds. She appears to be like a trapped bird moving disoriented from one side to the other. Her body language and the wall reflect her conflicted state, within her mind and without.

Choreographer Louis Laberge-Cote (Toronto), in "edged," choreographs Jordana Deveau with the sound of burning fire in the background at times. He was inspired to create this by the story of Joan of Arc. As in "Sparrow" before it I sensed a body burning in conflict within herself. Themes of spirituality and salvation are constantly present.
Choreographer Audrey Rochette (Montreal), in "Cake," cooks up an outrageous satire on reality cooking shows and sexuality in consumerism. A male chef asks his three female disciples for their ideas. Of course they support him, being a celebrity and all, and his idea to create a cake. Towards the end, the women, as sexual objects, hold up a very large baking pan behind his head, creating a halo effect. Whipping cream is sprayed around his head like a crown of thorns. He is dumped in the pan and dies. In a display of over-the-top sexualization of the body, baking powder and cream are splattered on the bodies and floor. A hilarious political satire that addresses gender issues in patriarchal society and sexuality in media consumerism using a chef pop star as the focus. Would love to have seen the complete version shown in Montreal.