Review: Heterollectual: Love, and Other Dumb Ideas (Pollux Dance)

Fringe Program Graphic

Quick, fun and funny contemporary dance at Dancemakers Centre for Creation in Toronto

It seems that most people view contemporary dance as a fairly dramatic and serious performing art. It isn’t often that you hear laughter in a contemporary dance audience, either because the work is very serious or because the audience isn’t sure if they are meant to laugh. Well let me safely say that Pollux Dance’s current show, Heterollectual: Love, and Other Dumb Ideas, playing at the Dancemakers Centre for Creation, is meant to make you laugh.

It seems appropriate that my date on Wednesday night was one of my closest single girlfriends. The one I call when I need a partner in crime on a Friday night, but also when a boy has broken my heart and I need someone to commiserate with. Actually before the show that’s exactly what we were doing: talking about love. I think we really needed a good laugh about it.

Heterollectual had us both gut-laughing from the beginning. Leslie-Ann Glen has woven dance, theatre and text together to poke fun at the crazy, intense and ultimately ridiculous journey of being in your 20s and in love. The six dancers go through the gamete of emotions experienced during a relationship. These interactions are clarified by a sound score of pre-recorded interviews about love and popular music centering around the same topic.

The quick paced work mirrors the often confusing and completely consuming nature of young love. It acknowledges the intensity and seriousness of romantic situations, but also the near insanity that romantic interactions create.

Starting with the first moment of attraction and progressing through all the defining moments of a relationship until the unfortunate end, Heterollectual hits on many points that most have experienced or can relate to, but with various cheeky twists. My personal favorite depiction of this progression was through using unclothed mannequins. The physical limitations of these two plastic people further enhanced the comedic element of situations that otherwise we would probably take fairly seriously.

Personally, I found the more theatrical moments of Heterollectual the most interesting. Perhaps it is because I have seen a fair number of contemporary dance performances, but my guest, who isn’t as experienced with dance performances, also expressed similar feelings. The dance portions of the show were visually beautiful and physically impressive, yet sometimes we weren’t certain how they related to the overall theme of the work. I found Glen’s movement creation very inventive and inspiring, I just wasn’t sure if all of the sequences clearly helped me understand her message. Sometimes I was getting my information more from the pre-recorded interviews than from what I was actually happening on stage.

Also I wish that the performers had been slightly more expressive in the more theatrical components of the performance. They seemed less comfortable with the moments where they had to speak than with the moments when they had to dance. The inclusion of these elements was great, I just wish the presentation had seemed more genuine.

Overall though, I greatly enjoyed Heterollectual. As a single girl in her 20s I empathized with the excitement and confusion about what exactly being in love means. I would have been interested to see what the older individuals who have passed through that stage of their lives felt about the work.

Also I would have been interested to hear from audience members who don’t identify as heterosexual, because the work’s depiction of love was very much geared towards representing a young, heterosexual viewpoint. Hopefully they were all able to watch Heterollectual and take comfort in the fact that we have all been there, done that, and survived to try and fall in love again.