Creative coup: Vancouver Dance Centre's 10x10x10
As Scotiabank Dance Centre celebrates its 10th anniversary this fall, the Vancouver Dance Centre's event, 10x10x10, in collaboration with Canadian Music Centre promised to be one of the most exciting events in Vancouver and delivered.
The program consisted of 10 different 10 minute choreographers work danced to music composed by some of Canada's most prominent composers. It had some high points, and some not-so-high points. But the the pieces were markedly different and vivid and the audience seemed compelled by them.
The program opened with a bizarre and funny piece titled "Darkened by Clouds" danced to Jacqueline Leggatt's music and choreographed by Delia Bret. It was a very good match. The three dancers were wearing rain jackets till the end of the piece, when they took off their clothes and lay down wearing bikinis, emulating sun-bathing.
The next performance, a solo dance titled "Liquid", by composer John Korsrud, was danced sensually by Amber Barton, a natural and smooth dancer, who mastered her own choreography.
The third performance featured Steven Chatman's soothing music. Choreographed by James Gnam, this creative, solid piece could use a little more drama. It didn't deliver a clear message.
Jeffrey Ryan's piece was dazzling and the choreography by Byron Chief-Moon was turbulently expressive. The two male dancers followed one another in dirty and torn clothing with an underhanded sensuality. As clarified in the video interview that was , this performance depicted the wretchedness of capitalism and corporation greed.
The fifth piece on the program, composed by Barry Truax and choreographed by Lee Su-Feh, was more of an act than a dance. It was a very theatrical piece with very effective usage of the stage. Lee Su-Feh used the help of some very curious material and surreal music to create an overall psychedelic effect.
After the intermission, five more intriguing performances awaited the stage.
Cross-border, composed by Francois Houle, was a pleasantly upbeat and rhythmically complex piece. The performance, choreographed by Alvin Erasga Tolentino, featured a male duo dressed in exotic eastern inspired clothing and a lighthearted presentation. Part of the aesthetic pleasure, at least for me, was the refined muscularity of the half naked dark body of the dancer.
Composer Marcus Goddard's heartfelt and energetic string quartet titled "Allaqi" was danced with an equally strong and expressive choreography by Joe Laughlin. The blond female duo, who looked almost like twins and were dressed in identical red outfits, danced with passion matching the music.
Overall, except for a very few numbers, the show was lacking in noticeable clothing design. Most dancers appeared in rather plain clothing, which were easy to shrug off. This is of course understandable given the non-expensive ticket pricing.
"Alight", composed and played by solo guitarist on stage, Ed Henderson, and danced to by Robert Leveroos, was brisk and delightfully simple. The music had a Spanish tone to it and the setting included a light sheer white mattress which the dancer danced and occasionally ran around. Towards the end of the piece, he unfolded the mattress and 3 dimensional circles rose from the mattress attached to it. He then put the mattress on his back resembling a white butterfly or bird.
The second last piece in the program, by Leslie Uyeda, was a meditative composition with the musicians live on stage. The choreography, though somewhat interesting, was not intensely effective. This might have been due to the fact that musicians took almost half of the space on stage, with the singer getting most of the visual attention and the dancers' presence being secondary on the stage.
The last piece, composed by Tobin Stokes, was very playful and colourful and perfectly suited to the choreography. Choreographer/performer, Josh Martin, was fully dedicated to the performance with every muscle in his face and body. So much so that it felt like the music is pulling and moving his muscles. He played the role of a conductor with surprising gestures and hilarious facial expressions. He is a talented, natural performer, who effortlessly charmed the audience into bursts of laughter numerous times. Martin's choreography and performance was one of the program's best.