photo by Jeremy Mimnagh

Dual Light is another success for choreographer and artistic director Andrea Nann. In such a wonderful time of exploratory art and experimentation with multi-media, I was honestly ready for a little bit of good ol’ fashioned dance. Nann delivered the insightful, creative, and technical dance I was looking for, but also surprised me with how seamlessly she integrated aspects of exploration, namely personal recordings of interviews with her father.

For me, what is most interesting about modern or contemporary dance is the creative process. I am fascinated with how improvisation can develop a movement vocabulary, learning where repeated gestural movements come from, and understanding the motivation for a piece of art. I was so delighted, then, by Andrea introducing her work onstage in the opening and giving of thanks that is a cornerstone of performances at the Harbourfront Centre. She mentioned how her creation was built around an early love of space, both inner and outer, planetary movements, and movements of the human body. She highlighted her family dynamic of being from both Eastern and Western worlds, and how her piece was meant to be a look at living in between these types of large-scale dualities. I would be happy if every choreographer from now on took a note from Andrea, and really opened themselves to the audience in this honest and direct way.

Nann’s artistic honesty continued throughout the show, and the audio recordings used as part of the soundscape were relatable and thought provoking. I was pleasantly surprised with how well they incorporated into the piece as a whole, and were reflected in the movements, shapes, and tension of the dancers. This is wholly due, in my opinion, to the wonderful introduction mentioned above, which I cannot praise enough. There were brilliant moments from all dancers onstage, and some of the most striking were in duets, especially between dancers Brendan Wyatt and Yuichiro Inoue. The care each dancer took manipulating the other was touching. Supple, dexterous fingers cradled heads, and the pair moved through their duet in such interesting pathways, surprising the audience again and again. In fact, I found myself drawn to hands throughout the show; my favourite moment was, gloriously, repeated as the final image of the evening, where an interplay of hands seemed to make a glowing sun of energy. I was surprised and so pleased that such simple movements were able to make me breathless and feel rushes of emotion behind my eyes.

There were some moments in Dual Light that I felt lost and distracted from the momentum of the piece. The audience seemed to lose hold of the thread linking all moments together, however we were all inevitably pulled back on track. Overall, Dual Light was incredibly successful. The attention to detail in the music and aural recordings enhanced the intended effects, and the set design was simple but created an incredible impact. I am impressed and impressed upon by Andrea Nann’s sensitivity and creative direction with this show, and cannot wait until her next one.