Friday, April 18, 2008

Stunned/Stunning - Chapel/Chapter - Dance Review

Chapel/Chapter - Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Dance Company - Harbourfront Centre Enwave Theatre - Toronto, ON

I won't have time to write this review now so I'll update this later this weekend but if you're in Toronto this weekend, I HIGHLY recommend seeing this show, which is a modern dance play that has a strong (though still abstract) narrative compared to the typically mystifying modern dance, thus even more engaging to me who is still not always used to modern dance.

I saw it because I loved Bill T. Jones' odd and abstract choreography for Spring Awakening but I knew he came from a highly respected and artistic dance world so was curiuos and was totally enthralled with this stunning work. The lights, video imagery, simplicity of the set, the colour usage and the dance movements blended into a powerful piece.

Anyways, go see it if you can, it only runs until this weekend in Toronto. UPDATE: Slightly longer review after the jump:

Chapel/Chapter weaves together three real life stories taken from the dancers personal experience, newspaper articles they took from the news, and court transcripts, of three events that lead to tragic deaths. Through the use of text, video imagery, spoken word, a strong colour scheme and a set that is reminiscent of a church nave, a coffin or a hopscotch, the dance company tells the fragmented stories into one 70 minute presentation that both stuns the audience in the joys and horrors of human behaviour, and is stunning in the presentation. It was modern dance without the abstract pretension one usually associates with modern dance, as the narrative story really helps us connect the audience with the dancers movements adding an emotional level to the show that I've rarely had with modern dance.

Chapel/Chapter - ****1/2 (4.5 stars out of 5)

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