Alberta Ballet’s triple bill Dynamic Directions highlights Western Canadian dance makers. Wen Wei Wang is based in Vancouver and directs his own company, that performs internationally. Aszure Barton is from Edmonton and now works out of New York. Yukichi Hattori is Alberta Ballet’s own and is growing in his choreographic skills.
Dynamic Directions features Futureland by Wen Wei Wang, Happy Little Things (Waiting On a Gruff Cloud of Wanting) by Aszure Barton and 01010010 01101001 01110100 01100101 (rite) by Yukichi Hattori.
Futureland was initially inspired by video game culture and is highlighted by the soundtrack from the Infamous video game. It is a spunky, fast series of performances, with intricate lifts and dynamic duets. The dancers are costumed (by Linda Chow) in black with dramatic makeup. The lines of the choreography breathe strength and flexibility among shadows. The piece with the men is powerful and striking. Nicole Pearce’s lighting design emphasizes the moodiness of the entire performance.
Happy Little Things opens to a cowboy dressed in brown who enters the audience. It is a stampede themed dance with themes of horses and animal physicality. There is some movement that is quivering and gyrating to the banjo in the background. Barton’s choreographic style is very distinct with a soft narrative in the background. The lighting design by Nicole Pearce illuminates the stage, giving the entire piece its Western feel.
Hottori’s piece is a meditation on bodies and movement and fluidity. The choreography is tribal and dancers move over and around each other like water over stones. Mariko Kondo plays a big part in this piece and is pushed and pulled in every direction. The dancers are almost creatures in this performance. There are moments that are quite dynamic and moments that could use more finessing. The entire performance has the dancers costumed in nude coloured attire, which allows the audience to watch the strength of Alberta Ballet dancers in movement.
All three pieces show the strength and power of the dancers. Their movement is so precise, the audience is drawn in.
Alberta Ballet’s Dynamic Directions runs until February 13th. More information can be found online.
Photo Credit: Paul McGrath