Isn’t it all just one big dance? : Review of Voyager

henderson castle voyager henderson castle voyager

Choreographer Ame Henderson, composer Jennifer Castle, and the Toronto Dance Theatre (Toronto), presented “Voyager” at this year’s Festival TransAmériques. This collaboration depicts a marriage between music and dance in its demonstration of what happens when both are composed simultaneously.

In a space, Agora de la danse, that looks like a theatre, as well as a lecture hall, as well as a luxurious living space, has chairs that appear to be placed haphazardly over it’s black wood floors. A beautiful piano rests downstage right. The chairs are plain black office chairs with metal armrests, typical of any office.

The crowd is quite chattery and, unlike most, sits concentrated at the front of the theatre. — A rather full house.

Being alone, but creating together.

Nine dancers, dispersed, much like the chairs

“Whimsical music from the nineties” is the lyric following the Alanis Morrisette reference “a fork, and 10,000 spoons.”

Piano, harmonica, and grocery bag audibly accompany the dancers.

Pop culture references as elements we live by, as elements that shape us; what pulls us together, even in our loneliness.

11 chairs on the stage, as chairs receive a shout-out in the lyrics.

Lyrics that are composed from a stream of consciousness in 25 to 30 pages. Unedited. Unrevised.

A shoutout to Montreal spiral staircases gets a chuckle from the audience.

I sit satisfied in believing that the goal of this piece is achieved.
While the dancers are on stage together, they are dispersed, as if they are alone.
A challenge between space and time.

While they share a space, they lie very much in their own spheres; universes. To re-stage the piece nine times, once with each dancer, would not be absurd. To re-stage it with any number of dancers would not seem absurd. Adding or removing dancers would still have the piece make sense, so long as the invisible thread between them remains. I can’t quite put my finger on what that invisible thread that binds these individuals together is, but that liminal space is clearly filled.

Illustrates when one individual is present in what they are doing, they are available to falling into synchronicity with the others. And this remains true regardless of where the ‘other’ is in the space or what the other is doing. These elements are those that make anything in art or life reassuringly beautiful. Anything goes if you keep going with you.

It is possible to maintain awareness of each individual in the space, but impossible to be with each individual, as a spectator. By keeping an eye on one dancer, they become the protagonist, while the others play background or might as well be coexisting elsewhere. For instance, if we were to imagine a fine curtain as a room divider.

A knock knock joke makes it into the lyrics. Haha!

“I can do two things at once” is the lyric as my mind says “It’s like challenging yourself to be here and there.” — But you can’t.

“Being yourself”

Funnily, I entered the space with an internal conversation about life and art. As I read the interview in the program, before the show, I felt I would enjoy the exploration I was about to engage with. However, with the space fully lit, audience members checking their phones, shaking their heads, and getting up to leave becomes a part of the show. And although I am enjoying my experience and love that the lit space allows me to note any thought that floats passed, I can’t ignore the experience of my fellow audience members and encourage anyone seeing the show this evening to glance at the interview beforehand. If you’re able to stay for the artist talk back tomorrow, I’m jealous. And to the girl that walked out, I have the utmost respect for you. I respect that you respect your needs and wants enough to know you need to be dancing elsewhere for yourself and not here for anyone else.

That, to me, was beautiful.

Upon leaving, I overheard someone say “Everyone was watching the clock in there.” Why? Who’s making you? What invisible threads are keeping you bound anywhere at any time?

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published.