Phase Space by Peggy Baker

Phase Space      
Choreographer Peggy Baker
Music John Kameel Farah
Dancers Kate Holden, Andrea Nann, Ric Brown, Sarah Fregeau and Sahara Morimoto
January 22-24 & 27-31 2016
Betty Oliphant Theatre
The first piece is a trio with dancers Ric Brown, Sarah Fregeau and Sahara Morimoto. When the curtain rises we see four chairs: two of adult size, and two so small they would not be out of place in a doll's house. Like children playing, the dancers leap, spin, crawl around them. Their vocabulary suggests circus performers, a fact highlighted by a circus motif in the electronic soundscape.
One trills like a bird, and is answered by the others, some of whom reach a preverbal, primeval state of their inner selves. Their voices are almost operatic in  nature, and at times disembodied, seemingly coming from a distant past. The effect feels like visually and orally being in a surreal twilight zone where memories and dreams collide. This piece ends with the male taking ownership of an adult chair, then letting out a very jarring high pitched wolf howl. 
A solo has Sahara Morimoto moving in isolation within the confines of a taped-off square. Her movements are heavily gestural, assessing and measuring the space in which she is enclosed. She appears to me like a mechanical doll repeating the same motions, a fact highlighted by a rotating wheel motif in the soundscape.
The third piece, a duet, features dancers Sahara Morimoto and Andrea Nann moving in isolation within a grid, passing and circling but never aware of each other. They are unable to connect until the end, where they do so as if possibly mirror images of each other.
The fourth piece, a solo for dancer Kate Holden, features once again Krucker's vocalography. Initially, Holden is seen as a black, undefined shadow staring at a tilted canvas on which only lips are painted. This solo is like watching her creating herself in the canvas of life. In the end, waves of sound crash down, transforming her back into how she was in the beginning.
Throughout all the pieces composer/musician John Kameel Farah plays on a platform high above the dancers. Being aware of him visually above has the effect at times of him controlling the body language rather than the dancers expressing the memories within. Overall, though, I found his sound beautifully textured and sensorial, perfectly attuned to this surreal production.

Peggy Baker and Fides Krucker offered a brief talk before each show, in which they described how they worked together to create this work. Baker explained how she had the dancers access remembered movement from previous works they did with Peggy. Even with this awarenesss, I found this to be a challenging show but a rewarding one.
I just let myself be immersed in the evocative nuances of the soundscape, the surreal images and watching the great dancers.
Others would have a different experience watching this show. The images that would come to them might be different from what I saw: No children. No wolves. No dancer creating herself on the canvas of life.