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LADMMI Unites Performance and Technique in Impressive Year-End Show [Dec. 20th, 2006|04:33 am]
Montreal Dance Community


In the past year, I have been fortunate enough to attend dance shows put on by students from both UQAM and Concordia University. However, I had not yet had the chance to see a show by the other Montreal dance school, Les Ateliers de danse moderne de Montréal (LADMMI). This situation has now been remedied with great joy. This week, third year performance students move through three choreographies that far exceeded my wildest expectations at Théâtre La Chapelle.

The first choreography, Terminal 6, is Harold Rhéaume’s creation. In a conceptualized transitional space, five dancers evolve and make contact. Without theatrics, Rhéaume aims for purity of movement and it is there, handed to him by talented dancers. They are physically sharp and incredibly precise. Their dexterity is such that they make striking the straightest lines look like the simplest thing. Even when their actions are antagonistic, they are executed with such precision that a feeling of harmony persists. This dance about the desire to connect with others is absolutely breathtaking.

The following work by Estelle Clareton, Quelques battements d’ailes, is a lot more grounded. The performers are dressed just as they might be on any other day, shoes included. As the rhythmic song of crickets is heard, two women casually eat bananas while two others lie down, and two more play with eggs. In all, seven dancers interact noisily in stimulating group dynamics. Even their repeated falls become an intrinsic part of the choreography. Somewhere between skilled dancers, playful children, and birds, the performers flap their human wings well into darkness.

The last choreography by Stéphanie Chêne, La fée clochette s’est fait un shoot, is an undeniable crowd-pleaser. A couple dances to an 80s French pop tune and seals their number with a kiss. They are followed by a naïve, energetic girl who clumsily dances with humorous results. Her overly earnest performance gathers laughter from spectators and easily wins them over. Soon, however, the honeymoon period is over for our characters. Chêne’s theatrical choreography is actually a cynical, but thoroughly enjoyable look at love and romance. For example, a woman repeats “I love you” until it becomes utterly meaningless. Also, a disillusioned character swears as the audience is submerged in a drug-like state by a room that seems to spin due to the strong lighting directly aimed at a rotating disco ball. Despite its recurring playfulness, the finale is rather dark, but ultimately hopeful.

Students from all three Montreal dance schools have demonstrated their ample talent and creativity this past year, but rarely have I seen such astounding work in regards to both performance and technique. LADMMI’s Cru d’automne 2006 is a perfect introduction to Montreal’s dance scene if you have not yet had that pleasure. The show continues until Friday, December 22 at Théâtre La Chapelle, 3700 Saint-Dominique. Tickets are 17$ and can be purchased by calling 514-843-7738.