There’s nothing common about this show: Common Space at Bouge d’ici

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Since I see the world through the lens of films I’ve seen, if you’d asked me before last week what I thought about dance, my instinct would be to declare those people are all a bunch of snobs. In those scenes where the working class hero is auditioning for the big prestigious dance school, all those people are SO uppity. But the truth is while I like to think shaking my toosh in a mosh pit amongst other drunken idiots is dancing, I’m sure is painstakingly obvious by now I know nothing about the world of dance.

Thankfully, living in Montreal means there’s always interesting opportunities to expand your horizons. Beginning as a way for dancers to connect and evolving into a full blown festival, Bouge d’ici is now in its third year. The festival not only serves as a way for new and established Montreal dancers and choreographers to collaborate and showcase their work, but allows newcomers like this arts writer a fun and accessible way to learn about the world of dance.

Standing in front of a sold out house at Mainline Theatre on January 18th, artistic director and founder Amy Blackmore was clearly beaming with pride as she introduced the debut 2012 performance of Common Space: L’Espace Commun.

“This is such a special night, and we’re so happy to have you all here…I hope you enjoy it,” she gushed in her best franglais. Those involved with the show that night included Concordia and UQAM university dance majors, Circle du Soleil performers and Fringe Festival regulars.

This wide variety of people involved was clearly evident in the ten pieces presented that evening. Some had props, costumes and intense music to accompany the dancing; others had absolutely nothing except the dancers moving around the space. The main thought that kept running through my head as I watched the show that night was that I never realized just how powerful a well-executed dance performance could be. For a dancer, their body is their instrument and some of the performers that evening moved me just as intensely as any musician playing a great set.

While I thoroughly enjoyed the entire evening, there were two pieces in particular that stood out for me:

The first was “Recalculating” which was choreographed by Cassandre Lescarbeau and mentored by Milan Gervais. By using the seemingly monotonous traffic signals and GPS calculations, suddenly the performance became an interesting comment on how sometimes getting lost is the only way you can find yourself again. While most other pieces were either a solo or two people performance, this large group had an energy about them that was infectious.

The other was “Today I Spent a Lonely Afternoon” choreographed by Valerie Buddle. From the moments the lights came up on the piece, a reflection on love lost, the intensity of the dancers peaked my interest which they maintained throughout the entire performance. I can imagine that moving that close and intimately requires a lot of trust among the performers and so I give a big hand to Emilie Barrette and Alexander Jolicoeur for working so beautifully together.

All the fun at Bouge d’ici keeps going on Saturday; make sure you check out their Facebook and Twitter pages to get the inside scoop on what to attend!

Photos by Stephanie Roberts

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