Review: Villanelle and S (Compagnie Flak)


Breathtaking contemporary dance from Montreal at Toronto’s Danceworks

It was a transformative evening at the opening of renowned Montreal’s Compagnie Flak’s premiere of Villanelle and S. Once again, Danceworks, Toronto’s contemporary dance series showcases a masterpiece at the Fleck Dance theatre.

Compagnie Flak’s simple dance piece is sleek, pristine and utterly breathtaking. A dichotomy of movement, Villanelle and S combine grace and power with the beloved works of Antonio Vivaldi’s musical score.

As the curtains are drawn, blackness remains on stage. Moments later, our eyes gradually adjust to a dim light momentarily getting brighter, revealing accomplished solo dancer Alexandre Jolicoeur. At first, subtle and precise, Jolicoeur unexpectedly begins to put poetry to movement in this uniquely elegant piece. Simultaneously, Marc Parent’s exquisite lighting design is an artistic and complimentary feat in itself.

Following Villanelle is the number entitled, S. This piece encapsulates the incredible fortitude of contemporary dancers. Transcending gender, race or physical appearance, the dancers appear nude-like; moving in unison, with direct and astonishing twists and turns. Dancers Sarah Fregeau, Alexandre Jolicoeur, Cori Kresge, Benjamin Landsberg, Waldean Nelson, Erin Poole, Lauren Semeschuk and Jeff Wolfe create an incredible ensemble. Their powerful and flawless performance perfectly matches one of the most beautiful pieces of music by Erik Satie. You somehow don’t want it to end.

Jose Navas’ astounding choreography and artistic direction is cinematic and moving. Contradictory, with various elements of surprise, Navas’ gives us an awe-inspiring production, with more than enough to keep us all engrossed. The slow-motion movement in the final moments of the piece were absolutely mesmerizing.

Villanelle and S, choreographed by Jose Navas for Compagnie Flak is among the high roster of dance pieces presented this year as part of the Harbourfront Centre’s NextSteps. With only one night of performances left, this show is a must see and not to be missed.


  • Danceworks presents Compagnie Flak in Villanelle and S as part of the Harbourfront Centre’s NextSteps at the Fleck Dance theatre at (207 Queens Quay West) till April 29, 2013
  • Performances run on Friday, April 19th to Saturday, April 29th, 2013 at 8pm.
  • Tickets range from $19.50-$34 (including applicable taxes and service charges)
  • Tickets can be purchased by calling the Harbourfront Centre Box Office at 416-973-4000 or online at

Photo of dance ensemble provided by Michael Slobodian