Opening night of Fluid Festival is one to remember; the Big Secret Theatre was nearly full of spectators. After a few quick words from Nicole Mion, Curator of the Fluid Movement Arts Festival, the performances began.

Up first was a piece created by Tony Tran entitled The Limelight; it featured three dancers, all of whom are currently active members of the Calgary dance scene. Fun costumes, choreography, props, and lighting all add to the excitement of the limelight and had the audience chuckling at the performers’ antics onstage. Clean unison and unique solo moments, as well as excellent acting, trade off to form an incredibly dynamic piece. Musicality, and how the dancers’ move to certain lyrics or changes in tempo, keeps the audience captivated; many audience members were tapping their feet or bobbing their heads in response to the music and choreography. The dancers, clearly enjoying themselves, add an authenticity to the piece. The Limelight is a must see piece for those who enjoy hip hop, theatre, or fun choreography in general.

Second to perform was Tara Wilson. Her piece, entitled Together in a Separate World, is danced as a duet with Christopher Clare. Intimacy is a prominent concept in this piece; the dancers do a tremendous job portraying their characters and helping the audience feel and see their longing for each other. Much of the choreography is done intertwined with, or at least touching, one another. The movement of one dancer is, more often than not, manipulated or initiated by the other. Fluidity and slowness allowed the audience to take in the dancers’ emotions without being distracted by quick and frantic movement. Together in a Separate World wonderfully brings to light what many of us feel in midst of the company of others. 

Finally, the moment the audience has been waiting for – the Tentacle Tribe begin their piece: Nobody Likes a Pixelated Squid. The Tentacle Tribe is a duo made up of Canadian dancer, Emmanuelle Le Phan, and Swedish dancer, Elon Hoglund. Clearly these dancers have been working together for a long time, as their connectedness to each other is spectacular; even their breath patterns are in sync. Nobody Likes a Pixelated Squid features stillness, fluidity, breaking, freezes, as well as sharpness, creating a dynamic piece that keeps the audience on the edge of their seats. The moments of stillness, and movement to stillness are impeccable. I kept looking for any hint of shaking or muscle contraction and there is none. These dancers have incredible control of their bodies; each movement is executed so precisely and looks so effortless. Cheers from the audience erupt when breakdancing and stalls occur during the piece; especially when Emmanuelle executes them. I did not want the piece to end, but when it did, the duo received a well-deserved standing ovation from the audience.

These performers kicked of Fluid Festival spectacularly. I left feeling in awe, as well as deeply inspired and motivated to one day perform as these dancers do. I am certain that many other audience members feel the same sense of awe and appreciation for the gift that the dancers gave us tonight.

Elizabeth Ferns

First year dance major at the University of Calgary.

First year dance major at the University of Calgary.