Fringe Review: Storm and Silence
Reviewed by Katie Stoneman
“Control. It’s all about control.”
Storm and Silence is a contemporary dance piece performed by Form Contemporary Dance Theatre at the Hamilton Fringe Festival. The show consists of two components, opening with a piece called “I:Solo” by Lisa Emmons who choreographed the longer Storm & Silence.
The recently formed theatre company from Burlington put on a display with live music, spoken word segments and beautiful movement from beautiful performers. The company incorporates so much in the 60-minute show, offering a beautiful sensory exploration of expression and movement.
Based on the story of a professional dancer, Lorelei during WWII Germany, this show begs the audience to question what control, power and freedom really mean
The picturesque dancers perform sequences accompanied by Anthony Rapoport’s live viola playing and Mateo Galinso Torres’ electronic dance scores. The combination of different sounds, lights and movement sets the scene of a mythical dreamworld where the definitions of control can be put into question.
The magnificence of contemporary dance lies in its abstractness. This piece guides the audience through a story about power and longing. Those present are given the conceptual space to explore their own thoughts and feelings throughout the story.
A beautiful introductory piece by a relatively new company, Form Contemporary Dance Theatre is a name to watch for.
Storm and Silence By Gary Smith The Hamilton Spectator Friday July 25, 2014
Think cutting-edge. Think New Wave European dance. Think the sort of contemporary vision Americans like to call Eurotrash. Why? Because they just don't get it. It challenges notions of what dance ought to be.
Well, Burlington's Form Contemporary Dance Theatre knows how to batter borders. Their dark, dramatic look at paranoia, control and the way human beings can be seduced into believing bad is good is terrific.
Filled with exquisite contradictions, movement here is contracted and stark, then suddenly lyrical and lovely.
Escape from oppression, wrapped in silky blue waters, this is strong dance drama that's better when it's not trying to impose a spoken narrative. Lisa Emmons' choreography is sharp, Anthony Rapoport's wicked violin is amazing. The whole thing is terrific theatre.
Citadel Theatre, Friday, 11 p.m.; Saturday and Sunday, 8 p.m.
View Magazine Hamilton by Rachel More
STORM AND SILENCE
Form Contemporary Dance Theatre (Burlington, ON)
Storm & Silence by Form Contemporary Dance Theatre is beautiful, lyrical, sophisticated, and a pleasure to watch. Form have created an utterly unique piece about myth, memory, and history that combines dance, spoken word, live and recorded music, and creative lighting design and staging that plunges the viewer into a magical and sinister dreamworld.
Taking inspiration from the life of a dancer in WWII and GDR era Germany, Storm & Silence offers commentary on life in the maelstrom of world events. The entire company is fantastic, and all the different elements come together in a holistic way. This is a very mature work that would not look out of place next to the best of contemporary dance theatre.
Storm & Silence is preceeded by a short piece called I:Solo. Performed by Lisa Emmons, choreographer of the longer Storm & Silence, it’s full of striking imagery and does a good job of setting the mood for the main program.
Often times the joy of Fringe is seeing diamonds in the rough. Storm & Silence is no diamond in the rough, but instead a polished gem of flawless quality. Form Contemporary Dance Theatre is a force to be reckoned with and Storm & Silence is an exquisite introduction to their work. (RM)
Storm and Silence
By Mark Fenton
Published July 22, 2014 - Raise the Hammer
- Choreographers: Lisa Emmons and Mateo Galindo Torres
- Collaborators/Performers: Caryn Chappell, Lisa Emmons, James Farrington, Damian Norman, Anthony Rapoport, Mateo Galindo Torres
- Show Type: Drama Physical Theatre
- Audience: General
- Warning: Strobe Lights, Fog Machine
- Running Time: 60 Minutes
This play consists of two distinct works: the 10-minute I:Solo followed by the 40-minute title piece.
In I:Solo an officious man seated downstage orders a dancer to delimit a square on the floor with what appear to be long flat rulers. She then dances from a tall stool that offers her movement a conspicuous three-dimensionality.
The dancer quickly falls from this perch and is then directed into the square she created at the beginning of the piece. She dances again, this time within the two-dimensional limits of the square, whose area is progressively reduced by a woman who acts as an assistant to the man giving orders.
We can see where this will end. Forced into the stifling restrictions of a dictatorship, her arena for artistic expression will shrink to a point where no movement is possible.
It's a stark, symbolic piece that acts as an overture to the more layered Storm and Silence, which concerns a Dresden dancer named Lorelei.
Dresden is sadly famous for its devastation by allied bombing in World War II and subsequent absorption into the Soviet block as part the GDR (former East Germany) where it was rebuilt to become an industrial centre of Communist Europe. (I just learned from Google that in his formative years with the KGB in the 1980s, Vladimir Putin was stationed in Dresden to recruit spies.)
As such, Dresden provides a powerful metaphor for civilian vulnerability and totalitarian control. Again, this is largely a dance piece, and thematically nuanced rather than plot driven.
Lines are spoken with the repetition of strophic song, but these lines soon break into fragments that dissolve meaning into pure sound; which blends effortlessly with a mix of instrumental music, both live and recorded; which in turn blends effortlessly with the dance choreography.
Statements with political import are clearly forbidden. In the brief moments of the play during which we're allowed to hear complete sentences we're told: "it's always about control."
But even as words are censored and erased, new modes of expression emerge. Brief word combinations are cut and pasted and overlapped in what could perhaps be described as a 'fugue.'
And it strikes me as no accident that J.S. Bach, the German master of fugues, is quoted in the music of the violist, a performance stunningly executed by Anthony Rapoport, who's actually choreographed into the dance while he plays rather than being relegated to a symbolic 'pit' on the periphery of the action.
If I've run the risk of making the play sound over-intellectual and forbidding, that's only because I feel it rewards a knowledge of Dresden's recent history. The play can just as easily be enjoyed as a feast for the senses.
Dance is not my area of expertise, but I can assure you the choreography is by turns sensual, playful, dark, joyous, anxious and executed throughout by consummate artists.
I recommend it as a show that will satisfy whatever back story you choose to bring to it.
The advent of wireless communications has made it possible for Mark to hold down a day job while spending quantity time out beyond the limits of something approaching a general conscensus about what's important in post-industrial society. In addition to working as a product demonstrator at Sobeys, Mark has worked as an ID photographer for a community college, a Kelly Girl, a Legal and Consumer Counsellor for an Auto Club, a Hall Director for a Southern Ontario University Residence, and an Aviation Analyst. He is the co-author of a television pilot called Bad Hall Director, which is unproduced but was once (and for all he knows may still be) seriously considered by serious producers, and he is the sole author of the e-novel of the same title on which it is based, and which must still exist on a CD at the bottom of a bottom drawer of his desk. He makes his home in Hamilton, Ontario.
Form Contemporary Dance Theatre Ignites a Radiant Rebellion on Stage
Editor-in-Chief The Theatre Reader - Monday July 20th 2014
Form Contemporary Dance Theatre, though still in its infancy, is comprised of a team of talented dancers and musicians who effortlessly appear as though they’ve been performing together for their entire lives. Their two-part show, Storm and Silence, tackles artists’ constant need for expression, both in the present day and throughout history.
I: Solo, choreographed by Mateo Galindo Torres, focuses on the timeless desire to get noticed, get the gig, get into the program, et cetera, and how difficult it is to be successful and allow our voices to be heard, especially as emerging artists. It comments on artists’ need to be taken seriously and to be given the trust and freedom necessary to create beautiful art. Performer Lisa Emmons has the audience holding their breath with every movement, and finally surrendering with her, as she accepts her fate.
Storm and Silence, choreographed by Lisa Emmons and written by James Farrington, is inspired by the story of a German dancer named Lorelei, who was forced to end her career during World War Two. This portion of the show depicts Lorelei’s escape into the Elbe River and how she is faced with wave after wave of impossible obstacles, preventing her escape. Caryn Chappell, as Lorelei, gives a breathtaking performance, encapsulating the struggle with every movement and every expression. Performers James Farrington, Nicole Meehan, Damian Norman and Mateo Galindo Torres, accompanied by the live music and performance of Anthony Rapoport, were an absolute pleasure to watch as well. All of the dancers have an unmistakable connection to each other and to the content, which shines through this melange of contemporary dance and movement.
The show is conceptual, yet inclusive. It is self-reflexive in the sense that it comments on its own status of being contemporary and abstract – a factor that artists often feel audience members may not understand. It takes artists, or anyone struggling to be heard through their work, and puts them under one umbrella, then showers them with potent imagery, allowing them to witness the battle, through dance and movement, and the necessity of breaking free from societal confines that prevent us from pursuing our passions.