for me? (Crooked Figure Dances) 2013 SummerWorks Review

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This year, there have been several notable dance performances playing at SummerWorks. for me? is a half-an-hour long dance piece by Crooked Figure Dances that chronicles the real-life interpersonal relationship between the dancers.

When you show up for this piece, you’re soon informed that the performance actually takes place about a 10 minute walk away in a field just a little north of where you buy your tickets. The outdoor venue is uncomfortable, rife with insects and the hot sun is constantly shining in your face, so bring plenty of sunscreen and bug repellent.

The piece starts with a short introduction by performers Kate Alton and Luke Garwood (also appearing in Final Savage Land – another SummerWorks production), chronicling their inspiration for this production as well as some anecdotes about their practices and friendship. Both are rather charming and easily relatable, but in this humble reviewer`s opinion, dialogue is not their strong suit.

There were moments where both Alton and Garwood were trying to obviously come across as clever and witty, but such moments were met with only slight chuckles and the occasional nod by a random audience member. The narrative seemed a little manufactured and did not always match the music. For example, when both performers were describing gifts they have given to each other, the music that followed had a dark, electronic tone suggestive of anguish or maybe even personal tragedy. Not only did it fail to match the story, it was terrible way to end an otherwise positive and upbeat performance.

Now, that is not to say this piece had no merit whatsoever. In fact, I believe quite the opposite is true. Stripping away all the pretence, all the forced attempts to create a narrative, which in my opinion was simply unnecessary, the dancing in this piece was marvellous. There’s something magical about the symmetry between two dancers who are perfectly in sync.

Alton and Garwood shared a chemistry and synchronicity that is often hard to come across. At times during the performance, they transcended being two separate bodies to appear as if they were one being, moving on its own accord. Even when the music stopped, they continued to dance but you could still feel the rhythm in their hearts.

Examined as strictly a dance piece, for me? was brilliant. But all the unnecessary things definitely took away much more than they added.

Details:

  • for me? is playing at an off-site performance venue. Patrons are to meet up at the Scotiabank Studio Theatre (Pia Bouman School) at 16 Ryerson Ave before the show starts, where the group will be escorted to the venue.
  • Show Times: August 8, 4:00pm, August 9, 4:00pm,August 10, 4:00pm, August 11, 4:00pm, August 13, 4:00pm, August 14, 4:00pm, August 15, 4:00pm, August 16, 4:00pm, August 17, 4:00pm, August 18, 4:00pm
  • All individual SummerWorks tickets are $15 at the door (cash only). Tickets are available online at http://summerworks.ca, By phone by calling the Lower Ossington Box Office at 416-915-6747, in person at the SummerWorks Info Booth (located at 100A Ossington Avenue, first floor) Aug. 6-18 10AM-7PM (Advance tickets are $15 + service fee)