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Crystal Pite, Lesley Telford, Individual & Collective Virtuosity at Arts Umbrella
Thursday, May 26, 2016


Crystal Pite  centre


Note: This blog will include only pictures of Lesley Telford's Only who is left and Crystal Pite's Emergence and The Paris Sessions.


Driving home Thursday night after having atended the first night performance (there are three more ending on Saturday) of the Arts Umbrella Dance Company’s Season Finale at the Playhouse featuring the Senior and Apprentice Companies I had complex thoughts.

I knew I had been a witness to brilliance and passion. But I felt that I was looking in from an outside and that the doors would never open. This is the sort of alienation I feel when I watch virtuoso baroque violinist Marc Destrubé play. There is a definite divide between those who read music and perform with an instrument and those who don’t. There is an equally wide gulf between those who dance and those who don’t.

This has nothing to do with understanding a particular piece of music (in what major or minor scale was it written) or the meaning behind a choreographer’s piece. It is enough we are told to just sit back and enjoy it all.

My Spanish-born grandmother used to say to me frequently, “La ignorancia es atrevida.” (Ignorance is daring.). So in my ignorance about dance I will just jump in and dare.

After that first night of watching 11individual pieces by 10 different choreographers of note I can assert that most were daring with just a few that featured “just ballet” to serve (a very useful purpose) to tell us, to show us where modern dance has come from. The strong pieces had few very happy moments. Most were bleak with an intensity that was heart wrenching. Perhaps from this old man’s view it was Simone Orlando’s whimsical Doppeling that featured both male and female dancers wearing Prince Valiant wigs that had some humour and vindication for humanity and individuality, once, when Maddy Gilbert removes her wig to show off very beautiful reddish and curly long hair.

I enjoyed Marie Chouinard’s bODY _rEMIX/les_vARIATIONS_gOLDBERG (In the beginning you think the sound system is going bad but that’s just the way it is) which forces dancers to figure out what happens when you wear one of your point shoes in your left hand so that it leaves the bare foot to act like a hand. The unbalanced result was beautifully clumsy!

 Lesley Telford's Only who is left

Béatrice Larrivé & Kyle Clarke



Zander Constant at left




But it was the choreography of Lesley Telford’s Only who is left (exceptionally assisted by Kyla Gardiner’s lighting) and Crystal Pite’s excerpts from her The Paris Sessions (to be premiered with the Paris Opera Ballet) that affected me the most. Both pieces showed what I call a collective virtuosity where dancers subvert and supress their penchant to show off while absorbing being part of a well-oiled crowd of dancers that acts as one. A third piece Crystal Pite’s Emergence (excerpts) went in the other direction. Here the individual performance of exceptional dancers left me breathless.

For the purpose of this blog I will have to refrain from showing all the pictures I took. That will happen at a later date.

The reason for this is that while talking to dance photographer Chris Randle I found out that I was not the only one to have been seduced, wowed and left gasping for air after watching Béatrice Larrivée dance the Pite duet in Emergence with Justin Calvadores.

I can only surmise that in today’s (Friday evening) performance of that  same duet, my other fave Ria Girard will show another facet of possibility. Can I go for a second night?

Crystal Pite's Emergence ( excerpts)

Béatrice Larrivé & Justin Calvadores
























So, both Randle and I were all eyes on Béatrice. During the rehearsal of Emergence on Wednesday (as I explained here) I was not able to record with my camera that duet. The lighting was much too dim and my camera shot out a beam of very annoying light. I was told (justifiably so) to refrain.

And so on Thursday night, with my Fuji X-E1 hidden under my coat I passed without being noticed by the PFG (Playhouse Female Gestapo). I made sure to sit on the side far away from the storm troopers. I sat next to Vancouver composer Jocelyn Morlock. As soon as the duet was on I took my camera out and took as many pictures as I could with a camera that was certainly not designed for the lighting situation it was meeting up with. A bit later I attempted to take photographs of another dance. By then I was almost pleasantly asked by the PFG to refrain. And I refrained.

The pictures, seen here are what art directors of the 80s magazine industry used to call edgy. I always deprecated the term as it simply defined,for me, pictures that were badly exposed, unsharp and just plain nasty. I have always excelled in pictures that are not edgy.

But these pictures of Béatrice and of Justin do in a small way convey the rawness of emotion that I felt what I watched when these two dance. To properly appreciate them (if that can indeed be the case) one has to see the performance and to live it as I did (twice!).

In Lesley Telford’s Only who is left my eyes were also glued on Larrivée. There are many very good male dancers in the company. All are exemplary and built for the part.  Curiously, after having noticed the previously ungainly (so many years ago!) Zander Constant I can now with pleasure state that he is my favourite boy of the lot while not deprecating that intensely emotional dancer Charlie Prince who so inspired me here.

Finally to end this meandering dare of this ignorant man let me write a bit about Pite’s The Paris Sessions.

Arty Gordon (the Artistic Director of the Arts Umbrella Dance Company) was able to muster at least 50 dancers on stage. This unprecented feat, according to Emily Molnar, the Artistic Director of Ballet BC could only have been replicated (perhaps?) by the National Ballet of Canada. This is an honour for the Arts Umbrella Dance Company to help Pite work on a piece that will see the light of day in Paris. On the other hand Pite must be aware of the wonderful opportunity those dancers helped in prepare her for her big day in France.

Someone a tad more ignorant than this writer could describe The Paris Sessions as a glorified American football, grandstand wave. This would be tantamount to stating that a lump of coal (the football wave) is much like a perfect diamond. The Paris Sessions is a virtuoso piece (a diamond) showing how 50 dancers can dance as one with a perfection that is uncanny. But then Pite in her past has choreographed dance moves for actors, theatrical curtain operators, etc. Her penchant for getting the best of anything and of anybody must be legendary. That she does this with a smile must be the reason dancers give her their best.



Crystal Pite's The Paris Sessions (excerpts)





Crystal Pite centre
























     

Previous Posts
Crystal Pite, Lesley Telford, Individual & Collect...

Beatrice, Béatrice, Degas & Marie van Goethem

Rememorando The Ritual of the French Press

Crystal Pite, Six Young Choreographers & One Princ...

Ria Girard - Moving Day With Crystal Pite @ Q7

Weltschmerz, Ennui, Enervation & Fiaca.

Arts Umbrella Dance Company - From Physical to Emo...

My Taste For Androgyny

In Praise of the Trombone

Lucía Mateo (aka -Talvinen) La Misteriosa Joven de...



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5/3/15 - 5/10/15

5/10/15 - 5/17/15

5/17/15 - 5/24/15

5/24/15 - 5/31/15

5/31/15 - 6/7/15

6/7/15 - 6/14/15

6/14/15 - 6/21/15

6/21/15 - 6/28/15

6/28/15 - 7/5/15

7/5/15 - 7/12/15

7/12/15 - 7/19/15

7/19/15 - 7/26/15

7/26/15 - 8/2/15

8/2/15 - 8/9/15

8/9/15 - 8/16/15

8/16/15 - 8/23/15

8/23/15 - 8/30/15

8/30/15 - 9/6/15

9/6/15 - 9/13/15

9/13/15 - 9/20/15

9/20/15 - 9/27/15

9/27/15 - 10/4/15

10/4/15 - 10/11/15

10/18/15 - 10/25/15

10/25/15 - 11/1/15

11/1/15 - 11/8/15

11/8/15 - 11/15/15

11/15/15 - 11/22/15

11/22/15 - 11/29/15

11/29/15 - 12/6/15

12/6/15 - 12/13/15

12/13/15 - 12/20/15

12/20/15 - 12/27/15

12/27/15 - 1/3/16

1/3/16 - 1/10/16

1/10/16 - 1/17/16

1/31/16 - 2/7/16

2/7/16 - 2/14/16

2/14/16 - 2/21/16

2/21/16 - 2/28/16

2/28/16 - 3/6/16

3/6/16 - 3/13/16

3/13/16 - 3/20/16

3/20/16 - 3/27/16

3/27/16 - 4/3/16

4/3/16 - 4/10/16

4/10/16 - 4/17/16

5/1/16 - 5/8/16

5/8/16 - 5/15/16

5/15/16 - 5/22/16

5/22/16 - 5/29/16