Every once in a while, a show comes along to remind me why I love contemporary dance. Last week, Lina Cruz’s K-5 was that show.
Completely insane, yet tangibly following its own internal logic, it manages to constantly maintain our interest because it is simply impossible to anticipate where it will go from one moment to the next.
The lights did not even have a chance to dim before the five dancers walked onstage in a single file behind Philippe Noireaut, the live musician who was already delivering an oration with great conviction. The topic of his speech is unclear, but the emotion conveyed seems to be more important than the words. Noireaut is the kind of man you hire to read the phonebook.
None of the roles in K-5 are clearly defined. It is a collaborative work in the purest sense of the word. Dancers often end up creating music while the musician becomes involved in the choreography. For example, the dancers periodically hit the metallic plates that are sometimes tied to their body, or a dancer stands on the piano bench and proceeds to hit the keys with one of her toes.
The sound environment by itself makes K-5 worth checking out; the quality is incredible, as rich and textured as the material it brings forth, which goes from tribal music to Gregorian chant. Despite the eclectic sources of sound, there is a strong spirituality that unites them. And the lighting is just as layered and complex as the music.
Similarly, the movement benefits from an excessive amount of freedom. While in the beginning of the performance the bodies are often crouched, by the end they find curves, and athletically extend and spin.
Everyday movements become witty apparitions to spice up the choreography, from hands running down pants to a woman literally getting into a man’s pants, bisexual kisses in passing, praying positions and scratching and tickling motions.
Near the end, when Noireaut exclaims “Vivons couchés! (Let’s live lying down!),” his voice is satisfyingly carried by the force of irony.
K-5 is a work that refuses to take life lying down. It dares to live to the full extent of its insanity and manages to end on a perfect note in the process. It’s the creation of a strange world, a true work of art, and one of the best shows of the year.
PREVIEW: Evolucidanse presents Roots Feb. 29 at 6:30 p.m. at 1185 St-Mathieu, room M-100 at the Couvent des Sours Grises. Admission is $15, students $5.