episodes | andscapes Choreographed by Jesse Dell and Tracey Norman Performed by Jesse Dell, Jordana Deveau, and Sky Fairchild-Waller A JDdance and Tracey Norman Co-Production, Dancemakers Centre for Creation, Toronto. April 4-6 2013
REVIEWED BY TED FOX FOR EVIDANCERADIO.COM
episodes | andscapes features three dance pieces by choreographers Jesse Dell and Tracey Norman that explore landscapes of life experiences.
In Tracey Norman’s Witness, two women (Jesse Dell and Jordana Deveau), become aware of each others’ gaze. One moves in on the other, triggering an attraction-repulsion interaction. Circling and assessing each other. Imitating each other’s moves. Physicality that becomes aggressive and violent. Until the moment when one falls, and the other picks her up by clasping her around the shoulder and lifting her to a position not unlike that of a war casualty. Throughout the piece a muffled voice suggests an observer witnessing them and commenting. Are they aware of this? Is being observed affecting their interaction?
In Jesse Dell’s pushed, a woman (Jordana Deveau), stands alone in a space furnished with opened and unopened boxes suggesting that she is moving in. She examines the walls like a prisoner would. Constructs a habitat for herself with the boxes. Creates a shelf for her meager possessions. Even a window which lets in a beam of light. Fascinated by the light on the flesh of her hands. Calmness. A sense of elasticity of tension building. She suddenly and violently lashes out with her feet, destroying her carefully constructed abode. Emotionally drained, she huddles in an open box. Is her expression one of defeat? Is she contemplating her future? Or perhaps a shattered relationship?
In Tracey Norman’s 43ºN 79ºW, a couple (Jesse Dell and Sky Fairchild-Waller) navigate through life reacting to the signals sent out by the body language and facial reactions of each other. Some of these signals are misinterpreted and threaten the codependence and trust. Result is, at times, like a face-off where the players measure each other and work out their next moves. Ends with each lying exhausted, backs to the wall, reaching out to each other.
Lighting designer Gabriel Copley uses shades of light and darkness to reflect the inner landscapes or souls of the dancers. In Witness, the couple is first seen in a blur of darkness, brightening gradually as each gets more involved with the other. The lighting for each piece gives the back wall a hard metallic grey texture. Soft bodies pushed against it. Sliding down. Resting against. The long back wall in the space at Dancemakers has windows. When covered, the windows further give an aura of imprisonment in space and in the relationships.
Choreographers Jesse Dell and Tracey Norman evoke insightful moments of intimacy, codependence and miscommunication in relationships with compelling emotionally intense body language. Including one possible unfortunate casualty. A woman. Alone. Boxed in. Her inner landscape rife with a mix of resignation, rage and hope. Rebuilding her life.