Presented for just four days at the versatile and dance-friendly Crows Guloien Theatre, X (Dix) is a robust and balanced showcase for five dancers of varied stylistic backgrounds who come together as a cohesive ensemble each with their own moment in designer Simon Rossiter’s inventive, geometric light. Rossiter’s work pairs with Son Lux’s music to set a strong tone of stirring melancholy and simmering unease that elevates but never detracts from the dance performance.


It’s exciting to see beloved National Ballet principal Guillaume Côté put his choreographic skills to the test outside of the classical ballet world and see what contemporary dancers can bring to his quirky but always refined work. The result is sixty uninterrupted minutes of thrillingly athletic performance of choreography that thoughtfully blends modern mood with timeless movement.


Natasha Poon Woo and Evan Webb stand out in the strong ensemble for their particular intensity and emotional communication. The program notes suggest that the work is related to the myth of Odysseus and themes of returning home. Any clear narrative to this effect was lost at least on me but connection to the character journeys of the dancers, especially Woo and Webb, was effortless.


The irony of Côté creating work about coming home in such an exciting moment of branching out gives the piece an intriguing tension that will surely grow as it tours more extensively on the choreographer’s international reputation. Programmed so closely to the remount of Côté’s stunning National Ballet celebration of Canadian art Frame by Frame (about animator Norman McLaren, co-created with Robert Lepage), X (Dix) is a wonderful showcase that further pushes audiences’ understanding of what Côté has to offer and how lucky we are that Toronto is where he calls home.