Von Tiedemann Series – Dance: made in Canada/fait au Canada (Princess Productions)

l-Michael & Louis by Kristy Kennedy

The Von Tiedemann series for Dance: made in Canada/fait au Canada (d:mic/fac) featured three unique contemporary dance performances by Louis Laberge-Côté, Blue Ceiling Dance and Mocean Dance (company based in Halifax). Each piece offered the audience something new. Laberge-Côté used inspiration from his own life to choreograph an emotional duet about a time in his life he was away from life-long partner and performer, Michael Caldwell. Lucy Rupert, from Blue Ceiling Dance, presented a solo piece that she originally did in 2006 and that was remounted for this festival. Tedd Robinson choreographed for Mocean Dance, fusing Celtic inspired and contemporary choreography for the strong all-female dance troupe.

As an audience member and as a choreographer, I love watching a good story play out on stage. Whether or not there is dialogue between the characters, if there is music and dance movement on stage and a strong story with intention and purpose, it gets me every time. I especially love it when the concept of the story connects with the human spirit and takes us on an emotional journey into our own lives.

Laberge-Côté and Caldwell present such a story as they dig deep into their own lives to find that very natural connection between the both of them. You can feel the love between them just as you can sense the difficulty of what it means to let go of that love – even if temporarily. The emotions were intense as they moved effortlessly connecting with each other and their own bodies.

I also enjoy simplicity in set design. Simplicity allows for the choreographic work to speak for itself without the fuss of making a lot of changes throughout the performance piece. The set was simple for all three performances. Rupert moved gracefully across the stage performing interesting repetitive movements which resembled the act of making marks on a chalkboard. Her piece was originally created to mark the 100th anniversary of Einstein’s theory of relativity.

Mocean Dance was very creative with their use of costuming. I was truly mesmerized by how all four dancers integrated the large canvas material and the blocks of frames in their performance. They were also very entertaining injecting humour in just the right places and also adding in a live bagpipe player, Rob Noble, at the end. Overall, the refreshing innovative choreography was fun to watch.

Concluding the performance there was a great post-performance chat led by Mimi Beck from Danceworks. This chat allowed audience members to engage with the performing artists and learn more about the choreographic process while adding in their own feedback. I truly enjoyed that experience to learn more about the artists.

Whether you are a lover of dance, a dancer yourself or even a non-dancer that is just curious about dance, there is something for everyone at the d:mic/fac. Check it out at the Betty Oliphant Theatre!


Photo of Louis Laberge-Côté and Michael Caldwell by Kristy Kennedy