Review: Caminos 2019 (Aluna Theatre/Native Earth Performing Arts

Photo of Ghenoa Gela in Mura Buai (Everyone Everyone)Multidisciplinary performance festival opens with engaging dance and movement

Caminos 2019 is a multidisciplinary performance festival jointly produced by Aluna Theatre and Native Earth Performing Arts at Aki Studio, which highlights Latinx, Indigenous, and diverse communities. The works presented are often new experiments which later go on to full production elsewhere. I attended the opening night of the festival and saw Mura Buai (Everyone Everyone), an improvisational dance performance featuring three Indigenous performers and four Torres Strait Islander performers in collaboration. I wasn’t sure what to expect going in, but I ended up really enjoying myself.

Mura Buai (Everyone Everyone) was created by Ghenoa Gela, who also performs in the piece. It is a collaboration between Force Majeure, an Australian company, and two Indigenous companies, Friday Creeations and Aanmitaagzi. Gela introduced the piece as an “improvisational, structured, contemporary game.”

The seats were arranged in a large circle with the performance space in the middle. Interspersed around the front row were stools where the dancers sat when they were not “on stage.” The space was small so the audience was really close to the dancers, which I love. You could see every facial expression and often the dancers were looking you directly in the eye.

The type of movement varied throughout evening. The dancers moved from the centre to the edge of the circle spontaneously, forming small groups and then dispersing. They often were dancing alongside each other rather than together, each in their own space. Each dancer had their own style but all were technically very strong. Some sections were influenced by traditional modern dance and contact improvisation. Some looked more like hip hop and social dancing. There was even combination dance battle/game of tag with the dancers trying to grab pieces of fabric tucked into their waistbands.

Although not every moment was lighthearted, it definitely seemed playful and even informal. The dancers on the sidelines would call out to the other performers or laugh at what was happening in the middle of the circle. It was fun to see how they interacted with each other. I also really loved the soundtrack which was an eclectic mix of electronica, hip hop, the sound of geese squawking and even Camille Saint-Saën’s The Dying Swan.

Mura Buai (Everyone Everyone) doesn’t have a story line. I’m not even sure there was a theme. But somehow, the combination of movement and music along with the interactions between the dancers kept me engaged for almost ninety minutes. I was never bored. In fact, the overwhelming emotion I had throughout was joy.

Mura Buai (Everyone Everyone) is the opening production of Caminos 2019 and will be performed through October 5. The rest of the festival features a different lineup every night. If this first night was any indication, there are going to be some interesting things coming up. I recommend checking them out.

Details:

  • Caminos 2019 is being held from October 3 – 13, 2019 at Aki Studio & Ada Slaight Hall (585 Dundas St. East)
  • Performances are at 7:30pm, 2:00pm on October 13. In addition, there is 10:30am show on October 10.
  • See the website for details of each performance.
  • Tickets range from free – $20 depending on the performance, with discounts for students/seniors/artsworkers, and can be purchased online or by calling the box office at (416) -531-1402

Photo of Ghenoa Gela provided by the company