Dancemakers just closed its latest show last night at Harbourfront’s Premiere Dance Theatre. Called Double Bill # 1, the show consisted of two pieces danced by the company choreographed by different artists. Though quite different, both pieces explored the repetition of physical actions and the idea of “covers.” The music was provided entirely by local curiosity The Reveries, a group that exclusively covers love ballads. The twist is that they play the covers with cellphone speakers in their mouths, each playing back the music of one of the other musicians. The result is hauntingly beautiful. The music was not performed live, instead, the dancers would choose which songs they would dance to by putting their CDs into the stereo they had on stage with them. This notion of “covers” was also carried over to the dance. In the first piece, “It Was a Nice Party” (choreographed by Ame Henderson), the dancers move around the stage in a way that at first seems random and violent, though somehow reminiscent of a party. At their own pace, the audience discovers that they are actually copying the physical actions of a group of revelers in a wild party scene from Fellini’s La Dolce Vita (it is eventually projected behind them). The result is energetic, funny and completely delightful.
The second piece, Michael Trent’s “And The Rest,” further explores repetition and what happens when one dancer forces the movement of another. In one particularly amusing moment, one of the dancers gives instruction to another through a megaphone of a rather difficult set of movements she wants him to perform. After he is done, she performs them herself, and you realize he has completely misinterpreted most of her instructions, choosing much more difficult choreography. Near the end of the piece, the audience is treated to a rare, perfect moment of surprise when, in a Buster Keaton (or Bluth) homage, the backdrop falls forward onto the stage, its doors and windows lined up perfectly with the set’s furniture (and even one performer!) so that nothing is disturbed or ruined.
It’s lovely to see a modern dance show this accessible, fun and unpretentious. Look forward to Double Bill # 2!