Nullius in Verba (Rebel Dance Theatre) 2018 Toronto Fringe Review

Photo of Raine Kearns in rehearsal for Nullius in Verba

Do you like contemporary dance? Do you like expressive movement? I enjoyed the dynamic movement in Nullius in Verba: A Double Bill Dance Performance the most. It is playing at the Al Green Theatre as part of the 2018 Toronto Fringe Festival.

The collective Rebel Dance Theatre (currently listed as “Rebel Yell” in all Fringe promotion material – the company announced their updated working title before the performance) describes this work as two separate choreographies about power and revolution.

The piece started with dancers Robyn Noftall and William Hamilton standing half dressed in a stage scattered with various clothes. Eyes closed. Bodies in a kind of suspension. They very slowly get dressed with a delicate quality of movement. It was captivating watching the dancers’ bodies struggling under the immense pressure of moving so slowly.

I love the attention to detail in the piece. The dancers move and hold their bodies with a lot of complexity and nuance. The dance as a whole offers great contrasts between floaty stillness and sharp dynamic rhythm.

While there were elements I loved in the piece, I did find that it felt filled with many moments of stillness and caution. When faced with those moments I kept wanting to see the dancers break that and move back to the more dynamic movements.

The lighting in Nullius was beautifully dynamic for both pieces. It accompanied a variety of atmospheres through the dances setting the tone nicely.

This beautifully lit atmosphere was present in my favourite segment. A piece titled “That What We Do Not Yet Know” by choreographer Mateo Galindo-Torres.

It was the striking movement, accompanied beautifully by the rhythm of the music that made his piece stand out for me.

When combined with the costume design that accompanied it, the dancers were transformed into ethereal figures. It was such fun!

The version of the performance I saw was a preview, so the experience I had from my viewing might not represent the experience you would have in future performances.

If movement in performance is something you appreciate, definitely give this show a look!

Details

  • Nullius in Verba: A double bill dance performance plays at the Al Green Theatre. (750 Spadina Ave.)
  • Tickets are $13, including a $2 service charge. The festival also offers a range of money-saving passes and discounts for serious Fringers.
  • Tickets can be purchased online, by telephone (416-966-1062), from the Festival Box Office at Scadding Court (707 Dundas St. W.), and — if any remain — from the venue’s box office starting one hour before curtain.
  • This venue is barrier-free. Note that only certain building entrances are wheelchair-accessible. Accessible seating is in front of the front row.
  • Be aware that Fringe performances always start exactly on time, and that latecomers are never admitted.

Performances

  • Wednesday July 4th, 6:30 pm
  • Friday July 6th, 4:45 pm
  • Saturday July 7th, 8:45 pm
  • Monday July 9th, 1:00 pm
  • Wednesday July 11th, 5:15 pm
  • Friday July 13th, 2:15 pm
  • Saturday July 14th, 9:45 pm

Audience advisory:

  • Noise: there are loud high-frequency sounds at points

Photo of Raine Kearns by Jonathan Lawley