Compartment 114: An Odd Essay


Today we observe our intense urban landscape and see a skyline of endless tiny boxes, like cells, modern day caves stacked high each with its own life and countless stories contained within. On the heels of his recent success BOX4, Terezakis will continue his exploration of spacial confines and limitations (both physical and emotional) but in a new and unconventional journey. The work will explore the notion of functioning in small or confined spaces. It examines isolation, confinement and imposed restrictions – so prevalent in today’s urban landscape. The project is designed as a new dance performance experience where a ‘travelling’ audience journeys throughout the building of the Scotia Bank Dance Centre to view live performances in the various site specific environments. Video technology enhanced the episodic performances of this “kinetic dance gallery.” Their Odyssey fragmented into the Odd-Essay.

This show was performed to sold out audiences on September 18th, 2011, in collaboration with The Dance Centre. Compartment 114: Dance and Death in the City

Daina Ashbee, Hayden Fong, Carliann Forthun, Cai Glover, Thoenn Glover, Elya Grant, Tera Hawes, Benjamin Kahn, Arash Khakpour, Jessie Kwan, Jacqui Lopez, Michelle Lui, Billy Marchenski, Molly Montgomery, Areli Moran, Owen Selkirk, Clare Twiddy.

Review: A new work by Kinesis Dance

By Debbie Blair
September 20th, 2011

On Sunday September 18, I attended the second last show of the last day of the tenth anniversary of the Scotia Bank Dance Centre: Kinesis Dance Artistic Director Paras Terezakis’ innovative new site-specific work Compartment 114 – An Odd-Essay.

It was a magnificent site specific work. The magnificence starts with the actual size of the program, which is in the size and shape of a poster. The poster size is wonderful visceral representation of the volume or bigness of “the space” (number of floors and ideas) we would be travelling through.

On this poster is printed:

We observe our intense urban landscape and see a skyline of endless tiny boxes, like cells, modern day caves stacked high – each with its own life and countless stories contained within. Let us embark on an odyssey – exploring the life within and the life without.

On the other side of the program is a complex felt pen and red ink sketched, diagramed and worded map of our journey. The map looks grim chaotic and dangerous.

Our tour guide, Roger Lee, starts us outside the dance centre watching a chorus of dancers distorting their faces against the glass again and again.

Pushing against the confinement and barrier of the glass? …Of the city in general?

We go to the d bottom floor of the Dance Centre, face the elevator and watch a live dancer interact with an image of a dancer. They dance with each other and the elevator.

What is real and what is not? That elevator scene reminded me of interactions in the city between the living and non living – buses that announce the street name, talking walk signs, and other non living representing (pretending to be) living.

Throughout this thoughtful wonderful hour long work, we are observers peering at physical visualizations of our angst and confinement in the city. Dancers, crawled, up and down stairs, balanced on railings, jerked and gyrated on a boardroom table, crawled danced and spun themselves around in a dark dance studio, slammed together on a bed, sexed in a hallway, climbed walls, and threw themselves at walls.

They were magnificent.

They were Hayden Fong, Tera Hawes, Cai Glover, Thoenn Glover, Benjamin Kahn, Jessie Kwan, Jacqueline Lopez and Owen Selkirk.

Do you know who they are? Keep your eyes on them.

Terezakis’ used his dancers and us well – for much of this hour-long performance there was no comfortable distinct huddle of us (audience) from them (dancers).

We saw them close up and personal. We could touch the dancers, and had to move out of the way, and I imagine from the view of the dancers, – we were yet one more potential danger, (what if you moved to the wrong spot as they spun or dived or …?)

Towards the end of the show in a concrete stairwell, the dancers were stripped to essentials -undergarments and gas masks. Yes, gas masks…

Was the idea of suffocating in the bindings of the city? Is it getting harder to breath (show creativity? .. be accepted…think as an individual…or ..or …what?) in the city now?

We watched a masked female dancer take a raw egg and viciously smack it again the grey concrete wall and run away. The yolk and egg white dripped downward on the concrete wall. …

..Death of life/potential?…

Our guide gestured for us to follow us down more stairs.

We hear ethereal vocals in the distance, then see Viviane Houle with a huge head of Marie Antoinette hair and similar gown,…(let them eat bread?)… but funky glasses (?) standing in a tub of water..

Composer Stefan Smulovitz playing a violin is lying on his back on the stairs wearing a large beaked bird mask or is it a doctor’s plague mask?

Houle slips out of her tub of water and picks up large ripe tomatoes floating in the tub and hands each of the dancer’s one, singing operatically.

Were not tomatoes thought to be poisonous at one time in history?

We continue further down with our attendant guide…down …we are close to the end of this performance..

We go thru a door and discover our dancers, Smulovitz, and Houle lying heaped, in a corner. Dead? The floor is covered in broken egg shells.

We crunch across the egg shells and leave the small Scotia bank ATM room and step out onto Granville Street.

Its 9:00 at night. The street is busy with cars. A few street folk watched us walking to the main entrance of the Dance Centre.

No one (neither us nor them) says a word to each other.

Unfortunately, this work has no other current showings.