Review: Acceleration (School of The Toronto Dance Theatre)

While watching Fjeld – part of Acceleration, which ran March 28th to 31st – I felt at times as though I were transported from my surroundings.

Where I was melted away.

Avro Part’s Romantic-ish sounding Es sang vor langen Jahren, the soothing folds and draping of Cheryl Lalonde’s costuming, and Christopher House’s duet, as executed by Chantal Baudouin and Amanda LaRusic, just totally immersed me.

The second work of AccelerationFjeld was the first in the evening – was an excerpt from Peggy Baker’s work, coalesce.

Ms. Baker’s work began at a frenetic pace. Almost like – and I don’t mean this comparison as a put-down, I just don’t have a wide vocabulary for movement – high-speed aerobics mixed with cheerleading. Its three performers – Olivia Citter, Natalie Westerbeek, and Angela (Ya Qing) Zhou – were so highly spirited, it was as though they were in a competition of some sort.

As coalesce moves on, a low beat by Debash Sinha throbbing behind the performance, Ms. Citter, Ms. Westerbeek, and Ms. Zhou gather under a spotlight; drawing together closer and closer to one another…

“You just can’t see this in figure skating,” said a patron sitting behind me to his partner.

His partner, also impressed, agreed.

Terminal Burrow, by choreographer Lucy Rupert in collaboration with the entire cast, followed Ms. Baker’s coalesce.

The costumes for Terminal Burrow by Jennifer Dallas were particularly noteworthy, I think.

Not only were Ms. Dallas’s dresses the epitome of elegant simplicity. But the tones– ashen grey, sun-risey orange, and the green of a shallow ocean beach amongst other colours – were mesmerizing. And unlike many works of choreography, the costumes played explicitly into the movements and interactions of the performers.

Amelia Iverson, Megumi Kokuba, Jolyane Langlois, Anastasia Shivrina, Kristine Van Kessel, and Natalie Westerbeek performed Terminus Burrow. They, like all the performers in Acceleration, are third-year students at the School of The Toronto Dance Theatre.

Arrival of All Time by Anna Stewchamp came next. It was introduced by Patricia Fraser, the artistic director of the School of the Toronto Dance Theatre, as a “masterpiece.”

It’s definitely pretty cool.

Three of its four performers – Ms. Baudouin, Helen Cox, Sarah Reid, and Jarrett Siddall – act almost like children at play as the fourth sits smoking at a nearby table and chair.

I loved Ann Southam’s electronic chirping-like score for Arrival of All Time.

An excerpt from Sasha Ivanochko’s Heaven followed Arrival of All Time.

With minimal costuming by Ms. Dallas, and under the bright white lighting of Gabriel Cropley, every muscle twitch and flex, it seems, by the performers – Jessie Gaston, Ms. Shivrina, and Jelena Vujic – is visible.

And, because there is no score for Heaven, every incidental sound of the performance, like feet squeaking on the floor, could be heard. Combined with the starkness of its visuals, Heaven had a raw humanity to it that the other works in Acceleration didn’t have.

Mr. House’s Schubert Dances, as performed by Mr. Siddall finished off the night.

Acceleration was, I think, the best overall arrangement of works I have seen in one evening at the School of Toronto Dance Theatre. And, I’m looking forward to their next show, Momentum 2012 which begins on May 3rd 2012.


One thought on “Review: Acceleration (School of The Toronto Dance Theatre)”

  1. Which night did you see? If it was opening then the Heaven dancers were: Neesha de Souza, Jolyane Langlois and Lara Roberts. Thursday: Jessie Garon, Anastasia Shivrina and Jelena Vujicic. Friday: Neesha de Souza, Jolyane Langlois an Anastasia Shivrina. If you saw closing night then it was: Jessie Garon, Lara Roberts and Jelena Vujicic.

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