Split Bill review <font size=2>by Sean Ryan</font> Mar 30, 2007
by Tania Kupczak
First, I will say that Split Bills are a unique opportunity for us to catch two performances by two artists within our region; allowing audiences to travel to two different worlds and be mystified, stupefied, or even sometimes compromised. I remember being involved in Split Bill back in the day when there wasn’t a Northwest Artist Series. I remember the excitement; the opportunity for two artists, one who had been in the community for some time (Peggy Piacenza), the other, a group (VIA/ Tonya Lockyer) who had their first big debut in Seattle. The latter of which I was apart of. It allowed these two groups to come together and share in the experience, the glory and excitement of the work, and also work together to make a great show and inevitably it did.
So, coming into last night’s performance I saw this happen all over again. And it made me proud. Two companies, Day Helesic / MovEnt & Crystal Pite’s Kidd Pivot, sharing each others tech crew and all the dancers traveling down together from Vancouver brought a clear sense of Vancouver’s dance community reminiscent of the one we know and love here in Seattle. And these two artists are key figures within that community that other dancers aspire too. At the last 12 Minutes Max I spoke with a participating artist who traveled down from Vancouver, who I later found out she had recently traveled with Day to a festival in the fall in Calgary. She went on about these two artists and their influence within the Vancouver dance scene, through their teaching, their inspiratonal performances, etc. .. And from what I saw last night, she was clearly right.
I hade been privy to Helesic’s work for about three years, seeing her first solo in the 03/04 Northwest New Works Festival, then a solo in last year’s festival. Having the opportunity to see Day’s choreographic skill, which I have always admired, incorporate three dancers was completely gratifying. The work, a powerhouse performance by three masterful technicians (Helesic included) humbled my own limits of movement, yet inspired this dancer to cut the shit and GET TO CLASS! The work, titled SURGE, did just that. Every moment, every action had a reaction. The action of pushing the dancer’s bodies beyond the limits of athleticism, kinesthetics & space, opened their and our experience for the spontaneous sense of vulnerability, elasticity, exhaustion & catharsis.
On the other hand, with MovEnt’s thrust of heart racing movement - building, reaching to a place of escape or even traveling to another world (the dancers running towards the light at the end of the piece,) allowed for a brilliant transition to Crystal Pite / Kidd Pivot’s Far Away. I sat transfixed as I gazed on a new horizon - a horizon of thought, story, the practice of creation and destruction, articulation & curiosity. Both dancers, Pite and Corrie Caulfield, shimmered in this full body writing of movement like a well writ novella. Each with their own unique strengths, as well as the beautiful juxtaposing and articulation of the body, riveted my being and was completely engaging. I would have to say the best ending of a show I have scene in a while was the gorgeous, well crafted, and simple exquisite solo by Pite at the end against a back drop of stars. It just brought tears to my eyes.
I am overjoyed by the fact that OtB has begun a well-sought dialogue between these two strong and compelling dance communities. And as rumors go, for those dance companies in Seattle looking to create and build connections with Vancouver, The Canada Council is looking for international co-productions to support. Word to the wise – do it! My only other hope is that more of this amazing dance community – and not just those that are the regular OtB fair, have a chance to come out and see this work. So stop being too busy and come and check out this compelling, technically aspiring work. You will be well surprised, invigorated and pleased.