Magazine article Dance Magazine

Toronto Dance Theatre

Magazine article Dance Magazine

Toronto Dance Theatre

Article excerpt

TORONTO DANCE THEATRE JOYCE THEATER JANUARY 19-24, 1999

During the second half of the program at the Joyce Theater, Toronto Dance Theatre brought itself to a rolling boil and demonstrated its artistic identity. This was primarily due to the energetic works of director-choreographer Christopher House, who knows his dancers well and has the ability to show them to their best advantage. Using a combination of styles reminiscent of Jose Limon and Twyla Tharp, and a ballet vocabulary, he displayed a craft that speaks well for contemporary dance.

This was perhaps most evident in his rousing Vena Cava, which premiered in Toronto in November, set to a score by Robert Moran. The dancers were costumed in chic red and black: kilts for the men and long slit skirts for the women. House circulated the dancers about the stage in blood-pumping fashion, shaping entrances and exits that kept the space ricocheting with fleet, stylish dancing. The cast of twelve dancers, led by the dexterous Lara Barclay and James Robertson, danced with no lack of red blood cells.

An earlier piece by House, Fjeld (1990) made a quieter impact. Despite an ambiguous opening with a ceremonious figure in glam-rock platform shoes, and a group section that made me think of yaks in a blizzard, the three other adagio sequences were mesmerizing. Especially affecting were the duet for two tunic-clad women (Laura West and Barclay), and a languorous trio for men (Pascal Desrosiers, Terry Gardiner, and Graham McKelvie) which resembled a living Bernini sculpture. …

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