Daniel Léveillé, the prominent and prolific Montreal-based choreographer, captures the complexity of what it means to be alone through the physically challenging solos in his latest work Solitudes Solo.
Solitudes Solo had a movement vocabulary with a repetitive through line of distinguishable turns, jumps, deep lunges, and a confrontational blank stare at the audience. The hour long show created a curious space for personal reflection. After multiple solos, one after another, with similar and delicate Bach violins, the movement began to look the same. However, this homogenization of dancers and movement through their repetition gave room for the mind to wander within this structure of solitude. There was never a moment given to unrelated thoughts, but instead thoughts centered around the admiration of the bodies. There was a qualitative change on the stage that spoke to the broader theme of loneliness and the willpower of people and bodies.
The dancers repeatedly returned to blankly face the audience. This separation between personality and physicality changed the feeling of confrontation into an overwhelming feeling of inclusion and welcoming. Léveillé’s work, while repetitive and at times monotonous in its structure, demonstrated the incredible interdependent relationship between the mind and the body, the choreographer and the performer, the performer and the audience. The rigidity of the structure was tiresome to follow as there was an unspoken hope that after so much repetition Léveillé would surprise the audience with a cathartic release of group unison.
As the magnetic Esther Gaudette took the second to last solo, feelings of solitude were amplified through her expansive energy and clear intentions. The dancers, while strong and capable of completing the choreography, were confined by the structure of solos; as if it were their mental and physical solitude that confined what they could do. The jarring twists of the body one way after another were unnatural yet performed with conviction and importance.
Léveillé beautifully presented the body in motion. Perhaps we was too precious with maintaining the structure of presenting solos and could have further developed the notion of solitude through the disconnect of having all the performers on the stage. Nonetheless, Léveillé’s ability to tie together seeming separate solos with unified movement presented an ecstatic exploration of the rigour required in isolation.
Solitudes Solo ran October 28-31 at the Firehall Arts Centre. No shows remaining. Check out more information on Daniel Léveillé here.
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