A showcase for emerging
contemporary dancers

Bouge d’ici puts together another innovative program with Common Space

By Faith Langston

Updated October 6, 2020

The friendly, barebones Mainline Theatre teamed up with Bouge d’ici to start off their year with a show featuring short, intriguing dance performances under the banner L’Espace commun / Common Space. The markedly talented participants – Andrea Carrión García, Aurora Prelevic, Jessica Sofia Lopez, Julianne Decerf, Mona El Husseini and Tiera Joly Pavelich – and “outside eyes” or choreographers – Liane Thériault, Emmalie Ruest, Stephanie Formentin, Maxine Segalowitz, Patrick Lloyd Brennan, and Timothy Rodrigues – have diligently worked to put together a fresh and innovative program.

Common Space Bouge d’ici - WestmountMag.caNostalgia and loss are themes found in Mémé est à Montreal, a piece performed by Julianne Decerf and Catherine Bellefleur. Two circles of clothes, old toys and notebooks are used to mirror the lives of Julianne and her recently deceased Tunisian-born grandmother. Musical credit for this piece goes to Sylvain Decerf who captures both the Tunisian world and the adopted French world of the Decerf grandmother with Salemiana fik ya bladi and J’attenderai by Jean Sablon.

A beautiful red rug is the intriguing prop for Solo 27. Mona El Husseini admires and pets it in an apt and fruitful attempt to depict a voyage towards the “seat of the soul… where the inner world and the outer world meet.” (Novalis) City noise contrasts with the wish for peace, the movement of fighting then retracting reflects a world that invariably requires us to both participate then look away. Evoked in the Norah Jones’ song Seven Years is the question of letting go of our younger selves. “A little girl with nothing wrong” is forced to cede to the deeper more complex problems of adulthood. Finally, Husseini returns to her own definition of selfhood. In between, “neither inside or outside. Neither here nor there. Not yet now, no longer then. It all comes alive in traces of blue.” A superb but modest resolution.

Bouge d’ici… has provided much needed venues, allowing emerging dancers and choreographers to showcase their work in a professional context.

I found Ancestors, performed by Aurora Prelevic, particularly moving. Dressed in brown, Aurora builds an image of bareness by strewing branches, ashes and pieces of wood in a circle. The traditional Eastern European black shawl adds to the set by evoking a past generation of women who have now left the earth. Singer Tanya Tagaq’s performance of Bjork’s Ancestors adds to this atmosphere of grief and loss. Program notes ask the age-old questions about mourning we are all confronted with sooner or later, “How do we hold it? Sweep it. Expel it?” The answer is found in a healing circle; pain visited and revisited in life’s inevitable cycle.

Inspired by Beaudelaire, Jessica Sofia Lopez’s Fleurs de mal is a haunting, brave piece. Movement is “split apart”, “broken down.” Véronique Martin and the preternaturally agile Si Yu Li perform an inter-play of aggression, secrets, censure and frailty. The world of shadows, which rests below the sunny, thin veneer of the civilised world, the irrevocable bloodlines which run deep in the human psyche must be faced, confronted, not suppressed. The dance is accompanied by a lonely sounding piano composition credited to Alex Ausschuss Q.B.

Common Space Bouge d’ici - WestmountMag.caMás allá de la muerte creator Andrea Carrión García tells us, is “her own ceremony”, her way of saying goodbye to the four family members who have died in the course of two months. Andrea uses her extraordinary dexterity to mimic the parry and thrust, the combat and retreat of fighting practice. Facing the cruelties of fate is the first step. Coming to terms with her legacy follows. Carrión will find her place and even be able to contribute to her clan. She revisits the forgotten world of childhood through Ryuichi Sakamoto’s song Morning.

‘The short powerful pieces produced by this dance company blur the line between theatre and dance.’

In Moments After Colliding by Tiera Joly Pavelich, a stepladder, darkness and rope, an anonymous hooded figure moving in and out of the vortex of light. The random cruelty of torment is aptly conveyed. And Mathias Bredholt gives musical emphasis to this theme. Moments After Colliding continues to dance alongside persistence of vision.

The brainchild of artistic director Amy Blackmore, Bouge d’ici has existed in full, robust form since 2010. It has provided much needed venues, allowing emerging dancers and choreographers to showcase their work in a professional context. The short powerful pieces produced by this dance company blur the line between theatre and dance. Evoked through movement, sets and music, the themes of loss, grief, the search for selfhood, aggression, cruelty and torment take on new life. The birth of Bouge d’ici is nothing short of miraculous.

Common Space at the Mainline ended on January 18.

Images: Cindy Lopez

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Read also: other articles by Faith Langston

Faith Langston is a Concordia graduate with a long standing interest in theatre. For the last ten tears she has worked as a literacy tutor with the Jamaican Association. 

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