Moments On A Wrist – Collective Heat (Toronto Fringe 2008 Review)

Review by Adam Collier

collective_heat

Moments On A Wrist is a set of five dances, each about ten-minutes long. What really struck me was how each dance seemed to have a strong purpose.

For me this was highly significant. Because I know there’s one thing I usually don’t pick-up on properly when I watch dance: why the dancers are doing what they’re doing. The ballet generally baffles me. But Moments On A Wrist wasn’t like the ballet.

I got what was going on – at least I think I did. In the first dance for example the focus was on stage pictures of intersection. The dancers are constantly juxtaposed to one another. It was a bit like those commercials where cars are zipping in-and-out and between lines of one another to demonstrate handling and acceleration. Of course that’s a very crude comparison. My only point is that the choreography here is precise and often very quick (it also helps that the dance was called “Junction 28”).

The fourth dance, called “Slip”, was the only one that was individually applauded. But for me, this was the one where I felt almost confused. Dance number four is called “Slip” and it’s only one that has lyrics accompanying it. The lyrics threw my concentration. In part this is because the words don’t have any enunciation, so they’re more sounds that vaguely resemble words. I was straining to comprehend them. But the bigger problem for me was the lyrics were a temptation to find a narrative in “Slip”, and this was a fruitless exercise.

“Slip” was physically as well executed as “Still Plow” or “Perfumed Paper” (the second and third dances, respectively), demonstrating what I thought was an enormous imagination for the use of space all around, but it just didn’t seem to fit with the others. At first I felt this might be because the four other works are collaborative onstage; maybe the focus on one dancer made the work too subjective without enough focus. But I doubt that’s it. Because I got a sense that all the works were personal explorations by the choreographers. I think the problem goes back to the music. Looking for narrative in dance is just asking for trouble, at least when it comes to my experience. And that’s the mistake I made.

The final dance, called “Moments On A Wrist,” was perfect as a finale. By this point I was expecting something a bit abstract (not a literal interpretation of the title), with strong kinetics and that visually, made sense to me. And they did it. This company of six dancers had a way of setting my expectations consecutively higher and breaking them.

The sensation wasn’t quite as thrilling as, say, receiving a check in the mail for then you were expecting, but it’s still pretty good. And especially because it was dance, and I usually don’t get dance, it was unexpectedly fulfilling.

Details

Moments On A Wrist is playing at Theatre Passe Muraille (16 Ryerson Avenue; north of Queen, east of Bathurst)
– Playing as a performance in the Fringe Festival; shows remaining are this Saturday at 11:30PM, Sunday the 6th at 2:15PM, Wednesday July 9TH at 7:45pm, Thursday July 10 at 3:30PM, Saturday July 12th at 7:00PM, and Sunday July 13th at 1:00PM
– Tickets are $10 at the door, or available through the Toronto Fringe Festival website.