dance: made in canada: Cruz Series: Shows by Tedd Robinson, Jolene Bailie and D. A. Hoskins


dance: made in canada

Cruz Series

Betty Oliphant Theatre, Toronto

August 16-18, 2019


Reviewed by Beverley Daurio


Logarian Rhapsody

Choreographed by Tedd Robinson

Performed by Ian Mozdzen and Alexandra Elliott

Logarian Rhapsody is an inverted, upside down Adam and Eve story, in which a man and woman dancer, both dressed in white suits—possibly disco suits—are tempted to bite into a green apple that is the centre of their intense attention.

The performers add to Charles Quevillon’s at times creepy and always intense soundscape with their busy, buzzy, running dialogue of urgent whispering back and forth. We cannot make out the words, so their voices form an impenetrable constant message.

As the two dancers interact, sometimes fighting over the apple, sometimes handing it back and forth, the apple takes on a kind of quiet symbolism: is it peace, or nature, or the beauty of the bounty of our land that is off limits to busy urban people? Why are they so upset about it and distressed by their decision? They are very discomboluated by actually biting into the apple, which they finally do—but it also quiets them. Robinson has again created a meditative piece that asks us to think about how we live our lives.


Phase Wash (excerpt)

Choreographed by Jolene Bailie

Performed by Carol-Ann Bohrn, Helene Le Moullec Mancini, Aaron Paul, Sam Penner

Jolene Bailie’s Phase Wash takes us out of the everyday into a strangely imagined social place where performers dressed in black bathing suits dance in hot creamy light, organizing and re-organizing themselves in solos, duets and ensemble segments.

The piece opens with a single dancer performing extreme body builder movements to an ethereal but heavy beating soundscape that includes a lot of synth and organ sounds underpinned by grinding.

As the dancers join and separate, attitudinally harsh, sometimes hopping, sometimes gripping each other, including some very funny and intriguing lifts—at one point, a woman is held upside down, with her face in the lifter’s stomach—and throughout, shiny flakes of light keep falling over the stage.

As the piece reaches its climax, they begin bowing to each other, then running together, finally disappearing into the darkness. This is a visually powerful work.


Janus is a god

Directed/choreographed by D.A. Hoskins

Performed by Danielle Baskerville

Janus is a Roman god of two faces, each looking in opposite directions, and is considered a god of “beginnings, gates, transitions, time, duality, doorways, passages, and endings… he looks to the future and to the past.” According to the program notes for DA Hoskins’ Janus is a god, these references are highly apposite, as the work samples and refers to and takes parts from pieces that Hoskins and Baskerville have worked together on over more than twenty years of performance and dance, and look to their past and future works together.

To the left of the stage hangs a massive plain white globe. Does it represent the moon, a whitened earth, or perhaps, a balloon? Around the stage are arranged small stations of props—here a mic and mic stand, there an upright post holding a bundle of soft brown stuffed cloth, there a pile of items including musical instruments, there a chair. Baskerville appears in full light, unrolling a long wire and setting off a loud red alarm, to the sound of persistent, heavy beat music, wearing a kind of skin tight space suit overall, and dancing vertically in the space with angular grace, arms extended.

At one point she covers her face with a grey scarf, hiding her identity; at another she removes her shirt, exposing vulnerable skin. The music shifts and shifts, from choral to rock to Baskerville herself speaking into the mic a poem about “Your body.”

Throughout, Baskerville exercises an easy grace and fluidity, with delicate balance in complicated turns, making the transitions from one station on the stage to another look like a journey through lands we would love to visit. At one point she plays a bugle; at other times she returns to the original position of the opening, centre stage and dancing. At the end, she unpacks the brown cloth bundle—it is a large, soft human shape, that she carries with her off stage. A beautiful, commanding performance of a challenging and intriguing piece.