Articles written for various community newspapers in the Lower Mainland, B.C. and special interest print and online magazines

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Chutzpah! Festival Review - Gallim Dance & Sidra Bell Dance New York

Sidra Bell Dance New York and Gallim Dance companies are definite “must sees” in the 2010 Chutzpah! Festival line-up.

The show opens with Bell’s four-part Anthology set with a low-lit stage and two powerfully robust dancers perched on chairs. Futuristic music accompanies staccato movements performed in tandem call-and-response sequences in Entropy. The duet morphs seamlessly into your hands which captures the magnetic essence of turbulent relationships in beautiful choreographic entanglements. Two women in gorgeous black tutus usurp the stage in Savage Birds, building the tension to a strong finish with Troy Ogilvie's solo Overtures, a heart-wrenching portrayal of a woman in the midst of an emotional breakdown. Ogilvie vacillates between chaos and control with frantic hummingbird-like gestures that become more tender as a result of the character's exhaustion.

Gallim Dance’s I Can See Myself In Your Pupil is a Rubik’s Cube of barely contained frenzy with movement so complex it physically outwits the audience. Dancers burst in and out of the wings and the visual story is so captivating that watching is like flipping the page of a gripping book. Choreographer Andrea Miller's dancers embody impulse with impeccable timing while using the full repertoire of their bodies. The eclectic music ranges from after-hours club tracks to a spinning silent record player to classical opera. It is a wild smogasbord of physicality.

A solo performer in neon pink tights dances in spotlight to Puccini. Dancers gyrate with seizure-like movements in a line that progresses like a conveyor belt to backdrop of Middle Eastern gypsy music. Dancers in peasant-inspired garb push the envelope of expression to a song in which a Latin woman hoarsely screams about the urgency of democracy. A woman moves as if made of rubber, attempting to gain control of her limbs and makes herself sit up after shunting across the floor on her elbows.

Miller delivers a jungle gym for your mind. The dexterity of her ideas combined with the limitless and malleable energy of very accomplished dancers makes for an ovation-worthy experience. A lithe combination of outrageous and soft, grotesque and demure, Miller has earned her title as last year’s Dance Magazine’s “25 to watch”.

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