I’m raking crackly leaves in my front yard, singing happily to myself (“Autumn in New York” if you must know), when I slowly become aware of a different tune wafting to me on the wind. Curious, I put my yellow rake aside and saunter down the block. Pulling up a lawn chair, I join 70 or so other random folks who have dropped in to containR in Sunnyside for a couple of hours of outdoor performances. Travellers from the train station, shoppers with their groceries, owners walking dogs, parents with small children, we all soak up the sunshine and watch some extraordinary contemporary dance.
This year’s theme of the Fluid Movement Arts Festival is rethinking the F-word in terms of optimism and reaffirming the arts and community. As Nicole Mion, director of Springboard Performance and curator of the Fluid Fest, says, F is for “family, folks, freaks, ferocious, force, freedom, flourish, fantastic, forever…and physical!”
Accordingly, Fluid Fest is hosting a containR weekend of free, family-friendly, and fabulously fun dance performances, inviting not only dancers and musicians, but also audience members and random passersby to reimagine the containR space.
The dancers in Jennifer DeWolf and Orianna Pagnotta’s creation, “Tangled Spaces” festoon the containR courtyard with lengths of blue ribbon the colour of the sky. They then playfully tangle and untangle themselves and the ribbons to music almost hypnotic in its beauty. The two little girls in princess dresses and tiaras pirouetting on tiptoes to the side are as lovely to watch as the dancers. The big husky dog next to my chair smiles up at me, hoping for a handout. A family out for a Saturday cycle ride stop and stare.
In contrast, “We Must Collide” by Dancing Monkeys Laboratories starts off with an almost ominous overture from the live keyboard. The dancers face away from each other, slowly intoning single words into microphones: sight…insight…in…sight, visible…invisible. The two little girls start climbing a pile of dirt by the courtyard, but I’m sure they’re still listening. An older couple on the corner are mesmerized; they become part of the performance from my point of view. A sudden breeze stirs up the dancers’ scripts; that becomes part of the performance, too. And just for one perfect moment, the dancers, the audience, containR and the community are one.
By Tamara Lee