Sunday, March 28, 2010

Poetics: a ballet brut - PuSh Fest vs. mixed repertoire (Black Grace) - VIDF

The title is slightly misleading as the following is not a comparison meant to judge either works (because I enjoyed both performances), but rather compare the two within the context of their respective festivals. I am by no means a dancer, but I think I've watched enough So You Think You Can Dance Canada to at least comment on a dance performance. I enjoy multimedia, so make sure you check out the videos below as well!

I saw Poetics during the PuSh Festival and was immediately intrigued with its usage of "non-dancers" within the performance. I had never really seen anything like it (except for some flash mob-esque performances in public spaces), and I thought it was a rather clever piece, questioning what can qualify as "real" or "non" dancing. Brought to us by Nature Theatre of Oklahoma, Poetics was an awkward and sometimes disconcerting show with incredibly committed "non-dancers" and a satisfying end.

NB: Pavol's mustache is awesome.

More recently, I attended a mixed repertoire performance by Black Grace, a dance company from New Zeland, during the Vancouver International Dance Festival. Headed by artistic director Neil Ieremia, this pretty awesome company combines Pacific Island dance and contemporary dance into one wonderful piece of moving art. Incorporating some heavily rhythmic elements, Black Grace wows and awes as I continue to rave about the show in the next following weeks.

Black Grace – Gathering Clouds – “Keep Honour Bright” from Black Grace on Vimeo.

NB: Black Grace ended their VIDF performance with this number. The last minute is particularly thrilling. For reals.

NB: This is another great highlight from the performance. This number is particularly strong on the rhythmic elements.

While both performances were clearly different approaches, I think they both ask similar questions. What is the difference between art and non-art? Traditional and non-traditional? How can we bring the non-art, non-traditional world into the art traditional world? Both performances are proof that the boundaries in art are and should constantly be pushed.

1 comment:

  1. Great questions you pose at the end, Melanie. I was disappointed to have missed Black Grace's appearance at VIDF. But your post has me thinking of some recent dance performances I have seen, as it's a favourite form of mine.