Basic instincts

BASIC TRAINING FOR LIFE! choreographed by Sylvie Bouchard and David Danzon, w/ Bouchard, Danzon, Monica Gan, Mark Johnson, Rebecca Mendoza.


BASIC TRAINING FOR LIFE! choreographed by Sylvie Bouchard and David Danzon, w/ Bouchard, Danzon, Monica Gan, Mark Johnson, Rebecca Mendoza and Peter Mundinger. Presented by CORPUS at the du Maurier Theatre (231 Queen’s Quay West). December 14-16, Thursday-Saturday 8 pm. $20, stu/srs $12. 973-4000. Rating: NNNNN


f your idea of holiday dance con- sists of making your way from the bar to the hors d’oeuvres table at a crowded party, then you should probably get out more.I’m not talking about attending the perfectly wonderful Nutcrackers making noise around town. CORPUS’s Basic Training For Life should kick-start your interest in dance, all without a single sugar plum fairy or greasy canape.

CORPUS, led by David Danzon and Sylvie Bouchard, is best known as the troupe that puts on the annual summer-in-the-park event Dusk Dances. The troupe uses humour and whimsy to communicate. They’re used to large, varied audiences, having performed in shopping malls, city streets and public squares. But, hey, it’s cold outside, and the malls are crowded with shoppers. The troupe’s ready to take its act indoors for a more settled audience. Get ready for a zany ride.

One of their signature pieces, A Flock Of Flyers, takes a satiric look at the regimentation of military life.

“It’s a parody of military discipline, but also looks at people’s natural desire to establish order,” says Danzon. “It’s a part of all of us.”

The work, one of three on the eclectic program, has been described as Monty Pythonesque, yet the troupe knows that making people laugh is serious business.

“You can’t try to be funny,” says Danzon, who’s worked with local clown-based troupe Theatre Smith- Gilmour.

“Good comic performers are those who don’t think they’re funny ­– it’s up to the audience to judge. We tell our dancers, “Don’t think for a second that we look ridiculous.'”

“In A Flock Of Flyers, we wear funny hats and do strange movements,” adds Bouchard. “But when we go onstage we have to believe we’re doing military training and that the drill sergeant is serious.”

The pair, who recently married and performed a piece at the Theatre Centre inspired by their coupledom, enjoy performing for varied audiences ­– one month it’s a school, the next a park crowd, the next serious dance connoisseurs. They frequently tour, sometimes bringing their accessible moves to places that haven’t seen dance in 25 years.

“Dance is an art form that people don’t know much about,” says Bouchard, who’s performed with groups like Kaeja d’Dance, the Toronto Dance Theatre and Dancemakers. “A lot of people say, “I don’t understand this.’ Well, often there’s nothing to understand and everything to feel and be engaged with. It’s an art form that we have to educate people on how to watch.BASIC TRAINING FOR LIFE! choreographed by Sylvie Bouchard and David Danzon, w/ Bouchard, Danzon, Monica Gan, Mark Johnson, Rebecca Mendoza and Peter Mundinger. Presented by CORPUS at the du Maurier Theatre (231 Queen’s Quay West). December 14-16, Thursday-Saturday 8 pm. $20, stu/srs $12. 973-4000.

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