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Looking Back on 2006

by Archives January 10, 2007

10. bODY-rEMIX/les vARIATIONS gOLDBERG, Marie Chouinard

Chouinard’s exploration of the mechanics of the human body and its man-made extensions is a large-scale eye-popper. Dancers become android-like, yet Chouinard still manages to imaginatively suggest the highly sexual.

9. Ma, Akram Khan

It’s hard to put Akram Khan’s creation into words. There is the dynamic interaction of seven dancers and three live musicians; there is the desire to find unusual positions for the body; but, above all, there is the sheer beauty of an ode to the creative forces of life.

8. Coleman Lemieux & Compagnie, James Kudelka

First, there is the cheekily titled Fifteen Heterosexual Duets, a series of impressive pas de deux that flow with great ease and pleasure. But more importantly, there is Soudain, l’hiver dernier, a heartbreakingly bittersweet tale of friendship between two men trying to elevate each other above the hardships of their everyday life set to Gavin Bryars’ masterpiece “Jesus Blood Never Failed Me Yet”.

7. Import/Export, Les Ballets C. de la B.

Belgium’s Les Ballets C. de la B. investigates the feeling of powerlessness that most feel when confronted with the global reality in a work of surprising reach. Hovering between jaw-dropping stunts, delightfully crass humour, and social awareness, Import/Export stimulates both mind and soul.

6. Double Story, Kidd Pivot

Kidd Pivot took a big risk by presenting the same story over and over again from different perspectives, but thanks to the duo’s wild imagination and clever sense of humour, it really pays off. By allowing two choreographers to act out their perspective on heartbreak, Kidd Pivot touchingly reveals that no one is left untouched by the perils of love.

5. Relation Publique, Caterina Sagna

Sagna communicates through dance. Consequently, when she is asked to participate in public relations where she has to communicate about her communications, the silliness of the repetition tends to frustrate her. Luckily, she turns her frustrations into the most hilarious dance show of the year with Relation Publique, a parody of public relations, modern dance, and the all-around pretentiousness of the art community.

4. Unbound, Wen Wei Wang

Wen Wei Wang imposed an impediment on his dancers – shoes too small for their feet like the ones that female Asian opera singers had to wear – and transformed obstacle into possibility by ingeniously subverting the accessory. Unbound was a compelling call for freedom of movement and the audacity to fully inhabit one’s body.

3. Demain, Paula de Vasconcelos

For the last instalment of the Earth trilogy, de Vasconcelos decided to look towards the future and surround herself with performers who were all twenty-five years of age and younger. The result is an energetic dance show with popular appeal that is so socially conscious it threatens to fall over into anxiety, but that is ultimately a beacon of hope due to the shining beauty of its performers.

2. La Pornographie des Ames, Dave Saint-Pierre

Dave Saint-Pierre’s controversial dance show (it starts off with the slow dying of a bloody, naked woman) covers such a wide scope of human experiences that it becomes a life-like illumination. By baring our souls on stage, Saint-Pierre reveals everything from our humour to our sadness, our pettiness to our meaningfulness, our baseness to our humanity. All at once, he masterfully captures the essence of our being.

1. Tout Comme Elle, Brigitte Haentjens

I can already hear the complaints: Tout Comme Elle is not a dance show, it is a play! Well, if managing the movement of 50 actresses on one stage from the very beginning to the very end of a show is not choreography, I do not know what is. Tout Comme Elle combined theatre, dance and poetry, and managed to transcend all media in the process. Any way you slice it, it was the best work of art showcased in Montreal in 2006.

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