BOX4 (Box to the fourth power) began as a re-visioning of my 1994 work A Parcel of Men’s Knowledge. However, in creating BOX4 I am not interested in the telling of a linear story (the audience can find one if they choose). I aim more to work with tension, in particular masculine tensions between the four dancers in a confined space; through obstacles, confrontation, and cooperation. As director/choreographer I can play the “cook” (a great hobby of mine) with the dancers supplying the ingredients and me creating the dish. I am most inspired by what this new and talented cast has brought to my vision and the challenges we have met together. The creative journey of BOX4 quickly became more than just a re-telling of a piece that I have done before but instead a continuation on the notion of confinement, possession, and masculine dominance, in particular the tension and aggression that can erupt from it like popcorn in a pressure cooker.”
“Box 4 kinesis Dance somatheatro….amazing work presented at Dancer studio West. I encourage all of you to check it out tomorrow night at DSW, especially the men who dance here in Calgary. i’m just blown away!”
– Jason Owin F.G
Length: 61 minutes
DIRECTION, CONCEPT, CHOREOGRAPHY
Adam Basanta, Stefan Smulovitz, Viviane Houle
MUSICIAN ON STAGE
First performances at the DC: Caroline Farquhar, Nathaniel Siri, Manuel Sorge, Donald Taruc.
Second performances for DIV : Mackenzie Green-Dusterbeck, Hayden Fong, Billy Marchenski, Manuel Sorge.
Third performances at the FHAC: Cai Glover, Hayden Fong, Billy Marchenski, Manuel Sorge.
REVIEW: BOX4 PACKED WITH TESTOSTERONE AND BRUTE IMAGERY
By Janet Smith, October 8, 2010
What a huge amount of unleashed testosterone and brute imagery choreographer Paras Terezakis has packed into this little box.
Sweat sprays throughout Box4, illuminated by the hard fluorescent light from poles at four corners of the square stage. The four dancers throw themselves on the floor, hurdle over giant stacks of newspapers, and catapult each other through the air. Vocalists appear out of the dark, screeching, panting, and riffing operatically. And in the cataclysmic finale, the performers frenetically whip up knee-deep newspapers like they’re caught in a twister.
It’s all overwhelming, and that’s the point. We’re watching men being pummelled by information overload. The newspapers, which they move about and stack neatly in the early parts of the work, are metaphors for that media onslaught. At one point the dancers read headlines aloud in an overlapping cacophony; at another they try over and over to count the papers in four different languages.
Kinesis Dance’s Terezakis not only pushes his performers to their physical limits, but finds endless ways to invent new choreography. The piece is as packed with dense, punishing movement as it is with anguish and alienation. Every one of the young, athletic dancers commits here, and each is magnetic in his own way: Manuel Sorge and Hayden Fong, with their hip-hop influences; Cai Glover with his ballet grounding; and Billy Marchenski, with the emotional transparency of theatre.
Fong convulses like he’s been electrocuted, or grabs at his legs, arms, and head like they’re being zapped; and somehow, Sorge manages to cross the stage by bouncing on his behind, never touching the floor with his hands or feet.
If there is a complaint it’s that the work is simply too full, and by the end, as the men tear, crumple, and throw about their papers, finally stuffing the pieces into the clothing they’ve stripped off, it starts to unravel. Box4 is out-there, no doubt, but there’s a raw appeal in watching so much male energy being released. It can be transfixing. Thankfully there are no overt dance clichés about masculinity—no gracefully choreographed fight scenes or pushing matches. And Terezakis has a few bizarre surprises in store for the audience; suffice to say you’ll witness an interpretation of the Rolling Stones hit “(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction” that’s so eerie it makes Devo’s look staid.
Terezakis, late in his career, is proving himself more fearless than a lot of younger choreographers, and his themes are more immediate than they have been in the past. He has said Box4 is a “re-visioning” of his 1994 all-male piece, A Parcel of Men’s Knowledge, which had cardboard boxes instead of newspapers. But the earlier work seems sedate and controlled by comparison. Then again, we weren’t all being driven to insanity by e-mails, Twitter, or online news alerts back then, were we?
REVIEW: DANCING IN AND OUT OF THE BOX
By Kevin Griffin
After watching Box4 at the Firehall this evening, Culture Seen wondered why he liked watching the all male cast dancing together so much. Was it the choreography that had all the dancers constantly jockeying for position and figuring out the leader? Or was it the incredible athleticism of seeing four skilled dancers moving with such agility? And what about all those explosions of hard-edge aggression and competition that gave way to flashes of tenderness and cooperation? Culture Seen certainly liked all of that. But there was something more: it was appealing to see men moving together with a common purpose that didn’t have anything to do with organized sports. It was a performance that was neither straight nor gay. In fact, those categories seemed quite irrelevant. It was something much better: it was an inclusive and generous performance of masculinity.
Box4 is performed in a stage that’s defined as a box by four pillars of inwardly directed fluorescent light at the four corners. For much of the performance, a stack of newspapers in several bundles is piled in the shape of square about knee high in the centre of the stage. Never has Culture Seen witnessed newspapers used in so many different ways. They’re used as chairs to sit on and bundles to throw around. They’re read as the containers of information that they are but in such a random way nothing and no-one makes sense. They’re tipped over, jumped over, and pushed over. They’re stood on, carried like cargo and stuffed into clothing. Pages are flung into the air and allowed to float down like a feather.
They’re strewn about the stage so they create a total environment of newsprint. They’re used as actual newspapers and as metaphors for the limitations of language. At the end, there’s a moment where the performers briefly get beyond language only to find something new lying in wait to get them.
The hour-long work combines dance and theatre. One dramatic section starts with Billy Marchenski using the bundles to build a tower. But Cai Glover steps into the picture. He’s the alpha dog who moves in like he may tip over the tower at any moment. As Marchenski keeps stacking, Glover maintains control of the situation. At its height of several bundles, Glover uses one finger to keep the pile balanced. Marchenski goes for one more bundle but before he can return, Glover tips the whole thing over and the Tower of Babel of newspapers tumbles to the stage floor.
The other two dancers are Manuel Sorge and Hayden Fong who are part of a strong, strong cast. But the standout was Glover. Trained as a ballet dancer, he hasn’t lost any of his rawness or freshness as a performer. An exciting dancer to watch, he always looked to be pushing himself right to the edge.
Box4 has its final performance Saturday at The Firehall at 8 p.m. Choreography is by Paraskevas Terezakis who also performs very eerie and disturbing, otherwordly vocals along with Vivianne Houle. Box 4 is a presentation of Kinesis Dance somatheatro.