Montreal Fringe: Mangeons Pierrot, Le Projet Migration, Re-Humanize Me

Tonight was my first evening of contemporary dance at the Fringe Festival. It was a diverse evening of three different three works that each had their own unique premise and explored various elements of theatricality and movement.

Mangeons Pierrot

Mangeons Pierrot is a chaotic work of contemporary dance choreographed by Karin Théoret and Gélymar Sanchez. The strongest parts of the work occur during the moments of quiet when they finally allow the chaos to settle and I wish they had of done this more. Overall I think there were too many ideas and props presented for a forty minute show and I found by the end I could not remember most of what I had seen. That being said, some of the ideas presented were quite striking. The use of white paper against the black backdrop creates a clinical atmosphere that is nicely juxtaposed against the playfulness of the movement and performance quality. While I felt the point of the work stemmed from the erratic shifting quality, as an audience member it was frustrating at times not to have any anchors.

Each of the dancers has their own unique presence and way of navigating themselves through the work and they are all strong, fearless performers that are fully committed to the work whether they throwing the weight of their bodies through space or sitting cross legged engaging in schizophrenic conversation. They deserve credit for their strength as movers and undeniable stamina.  In my opinion Marie Reine Kabasha is especially satisfying to watch, a very grounded dancer who grabbed my attention the second she began to move and continued to pull my focus throughout the piece.

Mangeons Pierrot is being performed at Venue 12, Studio Jean Valcourt. Tickets are $12

Le Projet Migration

A romantic and humorous theatrical contemporary dance work, Le Projet Migration explores two individuals whose relationship has become clouded by the stress of immigration and obtaining a marriage license. From Davis, USA Christine Germain & Dancers present a lighthearted work that is sometimes cheesy but remains cohesive and true to the choreographic intent.The performers had me intrigued before the show began by creating a political atmosphere that is relatable for anyone who has ever been through security in a government office. Slater Penney is dressed as priest and greets the audience as they walk in, breaking the fourth wall and inviting them to be a part of the setup. I loved the sparse spacial construction and the unconventional ways the performers played with the traditional black box.

The strength between Christine Germain and Slater Penney is their ability to listen and respond to one another’s movement. The partnering work was well crafted and smooth, both dancers move with a sense of ease and trust. At the beginning of the performance I felt a real sense of passion between the two of them, especially in the desperation of their idiosyncratic movements as they alternated between tensely clinging and languidly receiving each others weight. However the initial passion starts to fade and becomes slightly disingenuous towards the end. To me it felt as though the piece ended mid-sentence and when the lights came up signalling the end of the performance I was surprised and would have liked it to go on longer.

Overall Le Projet Migration is a tight piece that I would recommend going to see if you’re in the mood for romance, comedy, and dance.

Check it out! Le Projet Migration is being performed at Venue 12, Studio Jean Valcourt. Tickets are $12

Re-Humanize Me

Re-Humanize Me is a politically charged contemporary dance exploration of women’s bodies and rights that poses a lot of questions that are left open to the audiences interpretation. However the transitions between the choreography felt slightly awkward and made the message of the work difficult to decipher. The opening movement sequence was my favourite part of the piece, and in my opinion, the only part that really translated the issue into contemporary dance. It was during this duet, with the performers faces hidden by wild hair, moving with an animalistic quality, that I began to think about the way looking at someone’s face somehow makes you feel as though you can know them better. Unfortunately as soon as the sequence finished there was an extremely awkward technical break that took way longer than it needed to be and completely pulled me out of the performance.

The soundtrack, which is mostly recorded news interviews, provided a lot of political context for work yet at times overshadowed the choreography. The piece closes on an awkward and unsettling note that felt very out of context with what came before and did not provide any closure, leaving the debate open for questioning. However it should be noted that dancer Aditi Dixit had a strong performance gaze and is definitely a grounded, dynamic mover who is enjoyable to watch. While I’m sure there is strong choreographic intent behind this work and has the potential to open up political discourse it needs more time to be developed and polished as a choreography.

Re-Humanize Me is also being performed at Venue 12, Studio Jean Valcourt. Tickets are $10. I recommend reading up on the political nature of the work before going.