There were four sections of the performance “Prairie Dance Circuit” and each were very different although they were based on the same premise of inspiration. The first piece, titled “Still. Moving. Land. Acknowledgement” was greatly influenced by Indigenous beliefs and traditions, with the only prop being two rocks from the river. It was created by Nicole Mion and Troy Emery Twigg. Speech was essential to this piece, creating a story as well as a soundtrack. The connection between the two dancers brought warmth throughout the theatre, inviting the audience to be part of their activity.

The second piece was the opposite, being more of an entertaining performance to the audience rather than sharing the experience. Halfway through his dance, a man stood up in the crowd and shouted for the music to stop. I personally have never experienced this in a performance before and it startled me. The man asked how much of the piece was choreography and how much was improvisation, to which the dancer answered, “it’s about 50/50”. The idea that a dance could be equally planned out as improvised was perplexing to me. The conflict between knowing and not knowing could be seen throughout the piece conveyed through the dancer.

The third piece varied greatly from the first two as the dancer emulated an animal rather than dancing as a human. It was very accent oriented. It seemed as if the music was playing to whatever movement the dancer performed, rather than the dancer moving to the music and letting the music lead. There was a lot of white in this piece, including the costuming and props. This captured the audience’s attention immediately. The dancer slowly entangled herself in the paper and eventually was engulfed in it. Her individuality is compromised as she tries to survive in the blinding white land.

The last piece was my personal favourite. The use of white sand stood out to me as a meaningful metaphor. The dancer was frustrated and tired when she was avoiding stepping on the lines, but as soon as she realized that crossing the lines was not necessarily a bad thing, she was visually and audibly happier. By not following the lines or “rules,” she created something more beautiful than the picture in the beginning. However, she realized what she had done and regretted it, and she continued to clean up the mess she made in a monotone manner. This metaphor can be applied to every day life as a person tries to become an individual and live in their own way. I connected the most with the last piece because of my past experiences, so the metaphor stuck out to me. In conclusion, Prairie Dance Circuit was abstract yet raw and real, allowing the audience to interpret and connect with the performers and their stories.

Alissa Lee is attending the University of Calgary as a dance major. She has eight years of dance performance and two years of dance teaching experience.

Alissa Lee is attending the University of Calgary as a dance major. She has eight years of dance performance and two years of dance teaching experience.