The effective impression of looming shadows “dancing” with their flesh-and-blood counterparts is apt for these darkish moments evoking the ghostly presence of those no lengthier with us as nicely as conjuring fragile reminiscences of our previous, snug worlds in advance of COVID-19 ravaged the Earth.
Winnipeg’s Up to date Dancers presented the environment première of increasing Canadian star choreographer/performer Jera Wolfe’s Commence Again, as its most recent on the net presentation also marking the company debut of the 2019 Dora Mavor Moore Award-profitable artist.
The commissioned, filmed output impressed by the tantalizing promise of “re-invention” and initially slated to open up with a stay viewers in the Rachel Browne Theatre early December premièred Friday night time and runs by Jan. 31, featuring a cast of local dancers: Carol-Ann Bohrn, Allison Brooks, Mark Dela Cruz, and Kira Hofmann.
The Toronto-based mostly Wolfe of Métis heritage and notably a graduate of the Royal Winnipeg Ballet skilled division also serves as affiliate artist with Red Sky Effectiveness, with his will work presented by Canadian Stage, Tumble For Dance North, the Banff Centre for Arts and Creative imagination, Competition des arts de Saint-Sauveur, Danse Danse, Jacob’s Pillow Dance Competition, as properly as the National Ballet of Canada.
Winnipeg-primarily based lighting designer par excellence Hugh Conacher finds himself a playground with his significant, onstage barn door theatrical lights wheeled about the stage by the dancers that brings to lifestyle Wolfe’s frequently jaw-dropping imagery and magical, “trompe l’oeil” outcomes.
The choreographer has developed a lingua franca of intricate, typically hugely gestural, motion vocabulary that morphs amongst each classical and contemporary worlds, from pure balletic grace to grounded tumbles and rolls — with even a several flashes of breakdance paying homage to his hip hop/breakdance/jazz roots — in which dancers’ centres of gravity continually shift with kaleidoscopic fluidity.
The natural way, “pandemic dance” is ideally suited to solo do the job, with every masked, physically distanced performer garbed in pedestrian trousers, sleeveless tops and socks having their flip (actually) in the spotlight, underscored by a haunting soundtrack showcasing the Iskra String Quartet and Manchester-centered composer Danny Norbury.
Standout moments include things like Hofmann’s rhapsodic opening solo with her serpentine spine arching into comprehensive backbends, and Dela Cruz’s straightforward, gradual increase from the floor with his palms cupped that instills a perception of ritualistic ceremony into the roughly 17-moment perform. Bohrn also provides a deeply lyrical solo with just about every suspended movement propelling the following, when Brooks’ very own expressive solo is carried out as a personal soliloquy, which includes additional athletic choreography infused with mild falls and backward somersaults.
Quite a few sections of unison movement may possibly arguably have benefitted from larger polyphonic counterpoint, with a number of transitions at times feeling disjointed thanks to the requisite filming/and piecing jointly of individual scenes. Wolfe’s various of tempo, which includes a penultimate group section where dancers sitting down in a circle of picket chairs flail their limbs towards the sustained strings proved significantly helpful.
One of the elegiac show’s most potent scenes is when Bohrn and Hofmann’s unfettered shadows meld jointly, finally “touching” when masked human beings cannot, on the uncovered, upstage brick wall a comprehensive altering of viewpoint in which live, mortal dancers enjoy supporting roles to their own temporal, dancing souls.
Even so, the final moments pack the finest punch exactly where each dancer out of the blue gazes specifically into the digicam owning lose their mask like a snakeskin. This uncooked revealing of their all-way too-susceptible, utter humanity reminds us of what we have seemingly misplaced during this past year – and will someday find once again.
The generation is offered on the internet by way of Jan. 31. For tickets or further more info, stop by: winnipegscontemporarydancers.ca