Chutzpah! Fest 2017: Tara Cheyenne Performance and Silvia Gribaudi

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empty.swimming.pool | Tara Cheyenne Performance and Silvia Gribaudi | Chutzpah! Festival and The Dance Centre | February 16, 2017

Tara Cheyenne Friedenberg doesn’t simply choreograph movement, she choreographs characters. There is a subtle humour to everything in empty.swimming.pool — so subtle that many audience members didn’t seem to find the piece funny at all, and a few left early.

Gribaudi tentatively emerged from the wings, silently looked at the audience, and retreated. Friedenberg peeked out from the other side, appraised the situation, and returned to the wings. The humour of this repetitive action continued as they stood awkwardly posing, still unsure of themselves and began speaking in umms and ehs, while communicating through facial expressions.

Throwing their hands up in defeat and letting their hands slap down on their thighs, they repeated “wow” so many times that the meaning morphed and became a catchall for disdain, sarcasm, and awe; but it may have required some work on audience’s part to appreciate that. Waltzing aggressively to “Don’t Rain on My Parade,” they spoof common conceptions of beauty and grace.

empty.swimming.pool was not about impressing with cool moves, but about social commentary through humour. They took off their black cover ups to reveal a sequined majorette style outfit (Friedenberg) and flower-covered bikini (Gribaudi). Their confidence and inhibition to high kick and romp around the stage seemed in defiance of societal expectations.

The finale was the show’s punchline: they sang “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” in a high-pitched warble, Friedenberg gargled the last line, and Gribaudi threw some water on the stage and slid to a stop in from of Friedenberg.

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