photo by Jeremy Mimnagh

Growing up in the ballet world, I had often heard her name, but I never dreamed that I would be fortunate enough to see Evelyn Hart dance. Master of her craft, she is everything I hoped she would be. Her hands appear as light as a bird as she moves so tenderly and gently through the soft air. Not to be fooled by age, though, Hart is strong and powerful, and flashes of the ballerina she once was shine through. Choreographed by James Kudelka, Four Old Legs is a stunning homage to dance, ageing, and the closeness and tribulations of relationships. While some of the choreography was too literal, I adored the creativity and serenity of the evening.

Citadel and Compagnie presented a wonderful show in their studio theatre. The company works with local and Indigenous youth in the Regent Park area, providing free studio space for youth programming. This special feeling was extended into the performance danced by Hart and Zhenya Cerneacov. Both wonderful and established dancers, Hart and Cerneacov move together fluidly and easily, showing the ups and downs of intimate relationships in a concrete way. Cerneacov is energetic and acrobatic, with clear influences of the Kaeja dance company in his movement, with whom he has performed. I admired the gentle way these two dancers would come together, and melted at moments were Hart’s skill and acting abilities shine through. Her feet are so wonderful they make me want to cry.

The intimate theatre space added immensely to the experience of this show. Sometimes there are no other options than a black-box studio for a show, but this was performed so intimately with specific intention. I appreciated being so close to such a legend of ballet, and be able to observe details of performance. One of the first intricate duet moments between the two performers was downstage left, and I was able to watch the tension in hands, the journey of breath. I also especially enjoyed the score of the performance, with a variety of tracks from Chopin to Cake, and it never distracted from the presentation (quite a feat!). My only complaint is a slight choreographic obviousness. I dislike when movement mimics lyrics, and was distracted by the dancers tracing the track of a tear when the music mentions them, or miming a whisper when the music sings of “my secrets”.