Toronto Fringe 2019-- Glimpse, and Petroleum



Choreographer: Farrah Fernando

Dancers: Keita Fournier-Pelletier, Candace Irwin, Kelsey Woods and Angela Xu

Factory Theatre Mainspace

July 4 - 13 2019


Reviewed by Ted Fox


Glimpse has dancers constantly on the move. Bodies grasping, interlocking, pushing each other and extending their arms, hands and legs. An expression of their inner frustrations and helplessness.


They compare themselves to celebrities like Oprah Winfrey, an indication of low self-esteem and longing for an identity.


One confronts another aggressively in body language and facial expressions that indicate a possessive thwarted attraction to the other. She wards off her advances pushing her away again and again.


A dancer tries to break through a blockade formed by the others. Their faces are stern and hostile. She pushes again and again. Eventually gets through in a space created under their bodies. Pushes through them like a birth. Gets out. Stands tall. Raises an arm in "I did it" victory.


One moves to the natural sounds of a wind. Trying to push forward against the gusts. Later others struggle in the same way.


The dancers wear mostly red. A vibrant affirmation counterpointed by the realities facing them.


A gripping production skillfully showing women confronting a society that constantly pushes them down.






Petroleum: A Triptych

Director/Choreographer: Jeanne Lewis

Dancers: Jordan Alleyne, Keita Fournier-Pelletier, Sophia Hassenstein, Kaelin Isserlin and Ambre Orfao

Streetcar Crowsnest Guloien Theatre, Toronto

July 3 - 13 2019


Reviewed by Ted Fox

Petroleum: A Triptych, features students from the School of Toronto Dance Theatre.


The performers stand on chairs--two dancers stand erect, one slightly slumped. They stare at us with unnaturally clenched smiles on their faces. Slowly they slide downwards, ending up contorted and splayed out corpse-like on the chairs.


The first segment in this triptych begins with us participating in a support therapy group. The leader is represented by a dummy with an emoji head and smile sprawled in his chair. All are named Petroleum. We also wear IDs with this name.


As in all therapy groups, they talk about their feelings and problems. These range from feeling anxious about the climate, inability to communicate or relate to others. One even states that special things happen to special people (like him?). Gradually the words become indecipherable in a babel of noise.


A couple interacts in front of three knitted backdrops. One is brightly lit, giving the impression of a bush or shrub. A natural environment feel. Though they are constructed of plastic bags.


Towards the end they all appear to break loose for the first time, moving to the party song Cha Cha Slide. The music features a voice dictating instructions on what movements to make. This results in a regiment of dancers moving in unison to the pulsating beat embedded in their bodies.


Petroleum can be refined into fuel. Individuals are also capable of redefining themselves into their true individualistic identities.


The last images have them staring at us while clapping, willing us to acknowledge them as they do us, the masses. We follow suit. We are them and they are us.


Petroleum: A Triptych entertains us while addressing serious concerns on how we relate to others in our social media technology driven society. And does so with a sly tongue-in-cheek humour.