Sexuality, vulnerability, power, suspense, individualism, and synchronicity were all recurring themes in Public Energy’s showcase of Scan and Cinq Humeurs by artist-in-residence Emmanuel Jouthe. The performances took place at Market Hall to a sold-out audience on Friday, March 8.
Designed as a partnership between the Peterborough community and Jouthe’s company “Danse Carpe Diem,” Scan integrated the individual styles of 19 local dancers while simultaneously portraying a unified, homogenous group.
The piece featured two lines of dancers, marching in time across the stage. At seemingly random intervals, groupings of dancers would briefly break apart from the lines with short bursts of choreography. With this design, the dancers achieved an atmosphere of individuality, synchronicity, and suspense. There was even a bit of humour involved, with one of the male dancers pausing at random moments to slowly turn his head and give a comical look to the audience.
The light-hearted and innocent choreography in Scan was followed by the more serious and intense performance of Cinq Humeurs. This juxtaposition made for a well-rounded and diverse night of performance art.
As a more complex piece, Cinq Humeurs triggered a wide-range of emotions. The choreography seemed more of a blend of dance and theatre than simply a dance performance. Clad entirely in white, the dancers moved about the stage, sometimes alone, sometimes with each other, and sometimes while integrating various pieces of sound equipment. The music, too, switched from classical to haunting electronic ambience. The piece opened with one of the female dancers very sensuously making her way across the floor with a microphone stand.
Cinq Humeurs certainly achieved the ability to evoke response and emotion from the audience. This did not necessarily translate into a pleasurable experience. Some of the poses, sexuality, and vulnerability expressed by the dancers were difficult to watch. A similar feeling is driving by a car wreck and being unable to turn away while being simultaneously disturbed.
The dancers exuded the high caliber of physical strength and artistic talent required to evoke such intense emotions, and executed the performance with flawless technique. However, at times the piece contained too many parts, and too many opposing forces, to achieve a coherent message. Sometimes there was so much going on that it was impossible to take in the entire scene, which meant that audience members were faced with the decision of which dancers to watch.
The highlight of Cinq Humeurs was the moments of interaction between dancers. Sometimes overtly sexual and violent, and at other times platonic and healing, the chemistry between the dancers was the most electrifying part of the show.
Participate in Public Energy’s upcoming workshops!
Voice and Movement workshop with Bill James. March 23-24, 11am-2pm. Cost: $25 for both days.
Embodiment: Butoh based training & improvisation with Denise Fujiwara. April 6, noon-3pm. Cost: $20.