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O Vertigo’s Sensual and Emotional Explosion

Onde de choc
Sir James Dunn Theatre, Halifax
December 1, 2011

Last night, Live Art Dance Productions coordinated the Halifax premiere of Montreal-based dance company O Vertigo and their performance of Onde de choc (Shock Wave). The Oxford Dictionary defines shock wave as “a sharp change of pressure in a narrow region … caused by explosion or by a body moving faster than sound; a widespread feeling of shock caused by an unexpected event”. Literally and figuratively, O Vertigo’s eight performers succeeded in simulating such a supersonic experience.

Visually: Each dancer, with ripped muscles in their physical prime, displayed their endurance as they pushed their bodies to extremes for the entire hour. The imagery their flexible limbs created was stunning, from high speed convulsions and impressive lifts (demonstrating ultimate trust between partners) to emotional facial expressions and flows of imitated movements in circuit-like fashion. Some motions led to pondering (is that a fish out of water or a figure skater attempting an axel?), but no answers were required.

Auditorily: The soundtrack was brilliantly balanced between pre-recorded instrumentals and effects with sounds produced live. Dancers used their breath, their heartbeats (transmitted via a stethoscope hooked up to a microphone) and stomps, rolls and glides overtop a soundboard to simultaneously accompany their moves. The source of some sounds was left a mystery until visually revealed later on in the show.

There were some lulls during the 60 minute performance when the cyclical nature of repetition became almost monotonous. But these moments were brief and were far outweighed by the performers’ intensity even during slow motion sequences. Choreographer and Artistic Director Ginette Laurin’s precision to intricate detail and creativity shone through the portrayal of her program. Laurin’s sense of timing was effective when dancers gradually became partially nude in a subtle and beautiful way – a symbol of her message of the human need for physical contact. ~ Michelle Brunet

You still have time to see O Vertigo perform Onde de choc:
December 2 and 3 (8PM) ~ Sir James Dunn Theatre (Dalhousie Arts Centre)

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