Dance Side of the Moon by Helen Simard

Dance Side of the Moon 

Choreographer: Helen Simard
Video Projections: Kim-Sandh Chau 
Dancer: Maxine Segalowitz
Freestanding Room 
Montreal Fringe Festival 2018 
May 28-June 17 2018 

Reviewed by Ted Fox 

Helen Simard's challenging and very emotional dance solo takes place in a small studio in Montreal.

Dark Side of the Moon begins with dancer Maxine Segalowitz lashing out one by one at each of the six chairs lined up at the left side. Repeatedly slams each against the wall. Backs up slowly, clutching each chair in front of her, towards audience members seated on the right side until she brushes their legs. Turns quickly. Hands them the chair to clutch and look through for a short time. Perhaps she does this so they can experience the emotional burden she has to bear.

Kim-Sanh Chau's video projection begins on the back wall, and moves to the front. In this scene we see images of trees barren of branches, fields in which animals are blurry specks in fields. Space. Winter. Emptiness. Evocative of the dancer's state of mind. Throughout, an image appears of a golden orb as if the moon were hanging by a thread, unstable like Segalowitz.

Maxine Segalowitz fully encapsulates the effect of being beaten down by society and unable to be herself. The unrelenting expression of this on her body. Her twisting and wrenching. Her stamina, control and muscular strength. Maintaining the tension in her body for 45 minutes.

The hot steamy humidity of the space we are in. Her presence so close. Where we see the shades of emotions morphing over her face and emanating from her body. Anguish. Anxiety. Rage. Frustration. The steely determination to raise herself up. To be herself. Live her life.

The music of Pink Floyd's Dark Side of the Moon is a key presence in itself. The lyrics are a metaphoric bombardment/assault. Crashing down on her and pushing her to the floor. 

There are lulls where Segalowitz seems to go into a quiet meditative state. Like being in the eye of a hurricane, waiting for the next tidal wave of turmoil to blow in.

Choreographer Helen Simard at times slides along the floor with Segalowitz, creating a somewhat eerie effect. When Segalowitz moves to an upright position, the shadows created by a flashlight from below create a schizo effect of another personality within her, its shadow moving over and above like an eclipse. This also brings to my mind images of the film Cabinet of Doctor Caligari, which is set in an insane asylum.

At the end, images of spring blossoms come up. The waves of music slowly subside. There is a sense of rebirth and hope. As she lies on the floor isolated in her exhaustion.