Jezebel, at the Still Point & Kittly-Bender | Review by Judith Mendelsohn
Making Connections at Fluid Fest: Jezebel, at the Still Point and Kittly-Bender
With her adorable cat, Mr. Mungo in tow, Nicole Mion welcomed audiences to the double bill, Jezebel, at the Still Point and Kittly-Bender at Fluid Fest on Wednesday evening. Mr. Mungo was, of course, warmly received, setting a lovely tone for Ainsley Hillyard and her charming French Bulldog, Jezebel, to grace the stage.
Hillyard and Jezebel travel through space in search of a way to “crack the code to time traveling,” or to search for a means to stop the passage of time. As the stage and theatre become their new home, Jezebel is encouraged to explore the audience while Hillyard discovers her new space through text and dance.
Hailing from Edmonton, Hillyard and Jezebel connect with Calgary audiences to explore complex concepts, ranging from mortality and time to the relationship humans have with dogs.
In the creation and delivery of her piece, Hillyard draws from a personal and emotional place that is inspired by the love she has for Jezebel, creating an intimate experience, blending the worlds of dance, storytelling, and science fiction.
Jennifer Dallas, an exquisite dancer from Toronto, entices audiences into Kittly-Bender, which merges clown and dance with panache. Working with Canada’s famous clown, John Turner, she has taken the form of Pochinko clown and melded it with her own choreography seamlessly. Kittly-Bender, the winner and nominee of several 2017 Dora Mavor-Moore Awards, invites audiences into a visceral, visual and interactive experience of a fashion diva whose life seems to be in the swamps. Dallas’ visual surprises, costume design, and choreography create a sense of longing, desperation, and release.
Dallas’ “assistant”, played by the charming Jolyane Langlois, achieves what would seem the physically impossible as she effortlessly scurries across the stage on demi point in aid of her mistress’ bidding.
Dallas and Hillyard both form and hold powerful with connections with the audiences in their pieces, which, to me, is the essence of Fluid Fest: it is a festival that connects Calgary to dance locally, nationally and internationally. Moreover, I can honestly say I’ve never had the chance to pet both a cat and a dog after a show – talk about connection!