The Distance That Separates Us | SCPA Review by Brittany Welgan
The Distance That Separates Us is choreographed by Graham McKelvie of Calgary, and performed by him, Linnea Swann and contemporary and professional graduate students from the School of Alberta Ballet. They explore the concept that, although constantly connected to each other through social media, we can still feel alone. McKelvie and Swann talk about being weird and not fitting into the mold of the social norm, as well as about being manipulated to fit into it,, explaining their stories and contextualizing the piece through monologues at the beginning. As they are talking, dancers in the background perform simple pedestrian movements, which complement the dialogue without distracting from it. These monologues really set the tone for the whole performance as the dancers carry, manipulate and rely on each other for most of the piece, while exploring a large kinesphere. Movement is grounded and the speed is relatively fast and even, with a mixture of awkward pedestrian movements in the background and fast flowing intricate movements the focus in front. At times McKelvie walks across the stage, talking on his phone, completely oblivious to the people dancing around him, exemplifying how, nowadays, the mediated experience of phones is more usual and comforting than immediate interaction with physically present beings. As online presence grows, everyday face-to-face interaction becomes less important and less comfortable. This was my favorite piece of the night and the concept is one that really stuck with me. It’s saddening that in a world of unlimited connectivity and constant physical interaction, people feel so alone and isolated.