Saturday, November 19, 2005

dance with me

Krista and I went to the Playhouse last night to catch "an unbridled sensual indulgence"--modern dance in the hands of a woman who is purported by world dance critics to be a limit-pushing genius . The Compagnie Marie Chouinard, (cost: only ten buckaroos for students), was in little old Fredericton, and turned to be, to my novice senses, everything the reviews said it would.

After the first few minutes that it takes to get used to the medium (and stop thinking, "OK, this is silly--why is she flailing like that?"), it becomes like watching a dream. There are strange sounds and movements of the human body, and it is sometimes beautiful and sometimes disconcerting. Sometimes shocking, orgiastic; other times fragile and sweet. (Here are more pictures and write-ups at the Canada Council of the Arts.) Through thier bodies the dancers express the many emotions and states that our humanity encompasses; by the end of the dance you are wondering how it will shake down. Will the human beings you are watching writhing be overwhelmed by the experience, or will they find some kind of peace?

Which reminds me, I have five essays due in two weeks. I am tired and stuffed with pizza (what we were bribed with to sing with the church choir in the midnight mass, and come in on a Saturday to practice), and am feeling half-lazy, half-motivated. It's cold outside--anywhere between minus five and zero. This is only the beginning--Fredericton is merely sharpening its teeth. Meanwhile, I (along with many other students in the city, no doubt) am attempting to overcome the November doldrums, fire up the Ol' Inspiration (a cantankerous woodstove, though she gets the job done) and get through these assignments without losing that joie de vivre I so like to possess.

So to aid me through this two week "crunch time", I'm going to remember that Marie Chouinard's dancers, at the end of both Etude no. 1 and Chorale, made peace with the machine and the divine which seemed to control them. The single dancer of Etude ended up back where she began, in a cross-legged sit, visibly shaken by her experience, but in a calm, collected place. The mass of dancers of Chorale finished in a happy sleeping puppy pile at the front of the stage, the blue and soft-orange lights lending a glow to thier lithe bodies. Two dancers lifted themselves from the pile to blow kisses at each other, and then, like two irreverent gargoyles, turned to the audience to blow them kisses too. The lights fade to black.

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