VIDF 2017: Light Breaking Broken - Jamieson/Grenier

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Light Breaking Broken | Jamieson/Grenier | Vancouver International Dance Festival | Woodward’s Production Studio | March 23 – 25, 2017

Karen Jamieson and Margaret Grenier presented a preview of this collaboration at last year’s Coastal First Nations Dance Festival. Their goal with Light Breaking Broken was to bridge a cultural divide and push each other to grow as artists and individuals.

The piece translates the ideas of searching for meaning and crossing the cultural divide quite well, but there were sequences that seemed to repeat or vary slightly to bring us back to square one. Through all the exploration, the narrative felt circular and without a definitive conclusion, but perhaps that was the point.

The duo began the piece circling the stage with their hands out, slowly searching, carefully moving in time with one another. Jamieson stood centre stage, a quivering ripple of light radiating from her as she seemed to be in a trance.

Accompanied by drum sounds and indigenous language, Jamieson and Grenier moved softly and deliberately in their comfortable white cotton outfits. One moment seemed to represent the theme entirely: a beam of light bisected the stage, with them on either side, trying to cross over to reach the other. Another notable section had both dancers using their hands to mimic the traditional wooden animal masks that many First Nations use in their dances.

In the end it seemed that they came to understand each other better and forged a stronger, deeper connection. The narrative and their ultimate resolution could have been clearer, but their deep concentration and connection to each other held things together.

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