She Said So | Review by Xstine Cook and Medina Dennie

A mother-daughter team, and lovers of art go to a show at the Fluid Fest.

We are not dancers. We don’t do dance, we have not studied dance, we attend dance when a relative is dancing. "How hard can it be to write a blog about a dance show?” We thought. The answer: hard.

Reawaken by Meghann Michalsky 

Xstine:  Wisps of manufactured fog drifts through the space with an oily hue. Medina expresses discomfort with a disparaging sound. She has sensitivity to physical states.  The piece begins. 3 Dancers in non-matching costumes that seem to be made from natural fibres, and of muted colors, pulse and breathe and flicker across the stage, staying close, moving not in sync, but as one. At some point, intense red lighting makes my ancient still-in-denial-about-a-perscription eyes cross. Six dancers flicker and pose. Their breath, ragged, percussive, forms part of the music. The choreography is staccato, mechanical, my mind turns to the industrial revolution, the human struggle to tame the earth. The women’s bare feet, planted on the ground, as their bodies wave and pulse together. We watch them, cut off from their struggle, which they fight on their own. 

Medina: Was very cohesive and in synch with the three dancers. I liked how they styled their hair to look like it was wet and loose.

A Fine Kind of Madness by Heather Ware

 Xstine: A solo woman in a dark green jumpsuit, her long hair in two braids evokes a younger child like self, a school girl from a different century. But she is strong as hell, mature, knowing, and unafraid. She speaks to us, looks at us. A force hurls her to the ground again and again. Her strength, her will, her perseverance, she gets up and tries again and again, only to be hurled again to the floor, becomes a kind of violence to herself that became difficult to watch.

 Medina: I found it very interesting how the dancer spoke at the beginning and end of her performance. Very emotional.

Container by Vanessa Goodman  

 Xstine: The light reveals a solo woman.  Or man? An alien? Every muscle outlined and defined in stark lighting so spare and exact it reveals everything. Every twitch. A body struggling to become, struggling to inhabit itself. The person is naked? Or not? The costume morphs and transforms in the light. She moves in a jittery, yet strong, strong manner. Struggling to become. She approaches the audience.  The lighting pours down over her head to reveal the mask of her face.  A cinematic beauty. Cinematic images. Slowly she removes the boots, loosens the hair, dons a white shift, transforms from androgyne to female. Living the music, she inhabits exaggerated gestures and poses, becomes an iconic expression of the female.

 Medina:  My favorite out of the three of them. I loved the costume paired with the lighting and the dancer. The message, story and purpose of this piece was even and strong.  


Xstine is a multi-disciplinary artist with a background in theatre, and a current practice in film and music.

Medina is her 14 year old daughter.

Katherine Holm