Short solos share elements, take different tacks

Joan Sullivan
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The Festival of New Dance’s fourth program opened in the early evening with two short solos: Catherine Wright’s “Where My Soul Fits In” and Natasha Torres-Garner’s “Real.”

Both are concerned with physical vulnerability, exposure and connection.

They share some elements – spoken dialogue, for example. But in configuration, tone and presentation they take very different tacks.

Wright’s piece has an unusual genesis.

She was inspired by the paintings of Edvard Munch, who is famously associated with “The Scream” and almost as legendarily noted for his tormented relationships with women.

Wright starts dressed in a long black coat, shirt and trousers, accompanied by the music of Arvo Part and begins a series of slow, fluid movements that are often anchored by, and return to, a simple extended arm.

As the piece progresses and the music shifts through traditional and other classical tunes — and some songs sung by Wright herself — the motions continue to flow, sometimes languorous and at times more urgent, with repeated, almost tearing gestures from and to her heart and her mouth. She changes to a white dress, but the choreography doesn’t alter much from this yearning. “Soul” seems slightly centreless.

The real grounding is in Wright’s believable expressions, and she also creates a nice strong ending.

“Real” integrates video and a soundscape, the former showing imagery that is clearly anatomical yet puzzlingly unfamiliar, and the latter a series of natural and mechanical scoring that often pauses and repeats. Torres-Garner also uses her voice. And, as well, she draws simple shapes and outlines against a paper backdrop and on her own body.

She begins, prone, wearing a beige top, slip, leggings and shoes, lying on a long sheer cloth of the same colour.

Sometimes she seems to float, to be fetal, but much of her work comes out in a somehow accidental cadence that often stutters, sticks or shudders, even as it displays a supple refinement.

She incorporates the beige fabric inventively, at times a spill of water, at times a frame and a bondage. Overall the work is a deeply physical nimble punch.  

On Thursday, an installation work titled “The Bather” was on interactive display at RCA Second Space for the afternoon and early evening.

This collaborative piece, which included audio and visual elements, was co-created by Chris Driedzic, Susanna Hood and Shawn Pinchbeck.

A simple description would note the seeming real-time film projection of someone in a bath screened on a plain, white, narrow bed and pillow.  It seems still and remote, but a viewer can manipulate and manoeuvrer the imagery (although I confess when I tried to employ the bath-mitt-device, nothing happened).

Saturday’s program includes Corpus presenting “Les Moutons” and “Flock of Flyers” at the Avalon Mall, respectively at 12 p.m. and 1:30 p.m.  (admission is free). Wright and Torres-Garner are on again at St. Thomas Church at

6 p.m. and Cas Public’s “Variations S” with  Andrea Tucker and Dance Studio East as curtain risers, perform 8 p. m. at Resource Centre for the Arts.

Organizations: St. Thomas Church, Resource Centre

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