Review: Paris 1994/Gallery (The Dietrich Group)

Paris 1994/Gallery weaves a dance which reflects abstractly on life and memory over time

To love, to lose love, to spend life living through motions unaware of the people that cross your way. To have the elements of time and distance strain the separation of love. That is the subject matter that weaves and flows through the dance performance Paris 1994/Gallery by The Dietrich Group.

Playing at the Enwave Theatre, the production features dance artists Danielle Baskerville and Tyler Gledhill in a modern contemporary piece that combines movement with spoken word, projected film and sound to capture distant memories reflected in time. Dissonant sound more so than melodic music as the dancers are often accompanied by the sounds of record scratching, electronic humming, unrecognizable voices and even the clicking of their own shoes. 

Be prepared for a dance piece that takes abstract to a whole new level. Layers of metaphor and symbolism are set across the tapestry on stage begging the audience to dig deep into the depths of their own subconscious to find where the piece resonates with them. The movement is not standard dance where even the act of dressing and undressing is part of the performance. Speaking of undressing, be aware that the show does contain scenes of live and projected nudity both male and female (scenes my date and I were not made aware of before entering the theatre and though we didn’t mind the nudity, a preemptive warning would have been nice).

What I was able to take from the performance was an intricate view of the procession of life, of working through daily motions – dressing, going to work, hurrying to appointments while missing out on everyone else rushing to their own destinations unknown. Then the sudden stop, eye contact is made, life shifts and the world changes with a single spark of attraction.

The progression of the performance is not linear, appearing to jump forward and back through time throughout with some instances repeated or referenced. My date, Bob, enjoyed the overall production but had trouble following along and left rather confused. I was mostly confused by the mirrored card we were all handed during the show, the back of which says “Please keep this show as your memory of the show,” no reference was made to it throughout the performance. It’s not the easiest show to grasp and take away but it definitely leaves room for contemplation, reflection, discussion and mental dissection.

A talk session with the performers and director/choreographer D. A. Hoskins followed the show but we weren’t able to stay for it though hearing the commentary and questions would have surely proven enlightening.

Paris 1994/Gallery is starting to come to the end of its run on April 28 and although there are not many shows left, if you have a free evening and you’re looking for a performance that will stimulate the mind and the subconscious, then this is a show worth checking out.

Details

– Paris 1994/Gallery is presented by The Dietrich Group and is presented at the Enwave Theatre.
– Performances run from April 25-28 at 8 pm.
– Tickets are $35 and can be purchased online or at the Harbourfront box office.

Photo of Danielle Baskerville and Tyler Gledhill by Jeremy Mimnagh.

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