Francesco Scavetta's Hardly Ever encourages us to take a second look at our surroundings

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Hardly Ever | WEE/Francesco Scavetta | Scotiabank Dance Centre| April 5 – 7, 2018

Wow. The dancers repeat the word as they enter the stage and explore their new surroundings. On the left side of the stage, a couch, record player, and wallpapered backdrop create a living room, while the right side of the stage is covered in brown paper. As the dancers shuffle around on the papered stage and playfully try out different movements, they continue to say “wow,” in awe of everything.

A few props are also covered in paper, and they inquisitively unwrap them, one being another dancer who plays the base guitar. After uncovering their surroundings, the dancers begin to state everything they are about to do, such as “I’m going to do a short improvisation with my knee bent” or “I’m going to sweat.” After announcing, “I’m going to erase everything,” one dancer swishes her hands in the air as if magically erasing the stage, while the others pull all the paper off the stage to reveal a flamingo patterned floor.  

The costumes by Gjoril Bjercke Saether and set and by choreographer Francesco Scavetta, Gjoril Bjercke Saether, and Per-Anders Karlsson evoke a 1970s aesthetic, while also looking like something straight out of a Wes Anderson film.

Later in the piece, the dancers all joined in for a wonderful, calming rendition of “Easy Like Sunday Morning.” Another highlight was two dancers re-enacting a scene from Hitchcock’s North by Northwest as Roger O. Thornhill is in the dining car flirting with Eve Kendall.

Along with the “I’m going to…” section of the show, there was also the “Have You Ever…” series of movements as well as the “This is…” segment. All of these presented everyday images and scenarios but gave them new context and meaning, sometimes interpreting them in a new way. At times these sections of the piece felt repetitive, but they also allowed for a great deal of creativity and humour.  

Full of humour and universal images and scenarios, Scavetta’s style is quirky and cinematic. The rock-inspired finale as one dancer repeated “I trusted you” while giving examples of betrayal and distrust wrapped up the theme of truth and fiction nicely. Hardly Ever reminds us that sometimes things aren’t what they seem, and sometimes it’s worth taking a second look to see things in a new way.

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