Magazine article Dance Magazine

Fringe Festival of Independent Dance Artists, Buddies in Bad Times Theatre, Toronto, August 15-24, 1997

Magazine article Dance Magazine

Fringe Festival of Independent Dance Artists, Buddies in Bad Times Theatre, Toronto, August 15-24, 1997

Article excerpt

BUDDIES IN BAD TIMES THEATRE, TORONTO AUGUST 15-24, 1997 REVIEWED BY LEWIS HERTZMAN

The many participants in Toronto's fringe Festival of Independent Dance Artists (fFIDA) are chosen not by jury, but by lottery among artists with some performance background. Even so, there was more an enough quality to sustain in the interest an enthusiasm of the 9,000 who attended this year's event. Eighteen mainstage programs covered a great variety of styles and themes ranging from banal to sophisticated, and from ordinary to unusual.

Now in its seventh season, fFIDA has become a venue of choice for many young artists trying out their wings. This year more than 300 independent dance artists appeared, coming mainly from Canada but also from the U.S., Japan, Sweden, Mexico, and Venezuela. With judicious choice, it was not difficult to discover talented performers and some very good choreography.

Mariko Tanabe's performance of Benoit Lachambre's Gliding the Volcano, which was based on Tanabe's own life and movement vocabulary, was a bizarre introspection. Memories of past friendships and loves emerged in fragments amid a mass of sunflower seeds, both real and in photographs. She began, it seemed, as a North American woman speaking English, but ended almost butoh-fashion in Japanese, somewhere in mid-Pacific.

A delightful, completely extroverted contrast was the piece presented by the six members of NorrDans, a young company resident in the north of Sweden. Their piece, Morkvitt ("Dark White"), by Jessica Iwanson, bore a strong allusion to the snowy winter landscape of their country. In rehearsal, the dancers began work outdoors on a frozen beach so that they could experience the daily changing qualities of snow and ice in a new way; they then attempted to bring their impressions into the studio. The dancers not only managed to convey their feelings toward the rigors of the land, but even their thoughts about relationships and love, both collectively and as individuals. …

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