casa, lap dogs and other restrictions choreography by Claudia Moore and Lola MacLaughlin. Presented by MOonhORsE dance theatre at the Theatre Centre (1087 Queen West). Opens tonight (Thursday June 12) and runs to June 22, Thursday-Saturday 8 pm, matinee Sunday 2:30 pm. $20, stu/srs $15. 416-504-7529. Rating: NNNNN
Like many indie dance artists, Bonnie Kim wonders each year if she's going to retire. Lucky for us, she doesn't."The reason I'm still dancing can't be put down on paper or a resumé," says Kim, who brings her solid, muscular presence to Claudia Moore's latest work, CASA, through next weekend.
"Dance only lasts in the memory of the person watching it," she adds. "It's fleeting. You can't wrap it up and show somebody."
Kim's work with Moore goes back nearly a decade, when she was chosen by the choreographer in Winnipeg to dance in an early piece, Crow Sisters.
Since then, she's joined Moore almost every year for a series of challenging works, including Small Midnight and last year's series of solos, On Earth.
"There's a freedom in working with Claudia," says Kim, who's often joined onstage by Moore and dancers Fiona Drinnan and Miko Sobreira. "There's definitely a collaborative feeling. She wants our contributions and we freely give feedback."
While Kim contributes her own text to many Moore pieces, the choreographer and artistic director of MOonhORsE dance theatre also allows Kim and the rest of the ensemble to learn about voice and dance techniques.
"Other companies or independent choreographers might not be able to afford it, but Claudia feels a responsibility to contribute to our training," says Kim.
CASA is loosely inspired by Peter Carey's Booker Prize-winning novel True History Of The Kelly Gang, about a band of bank-robbing bushrangers in 1870s Australia.
It's not a strict adaptation, explains Kim. Sobreira portrays legendary outlaw Ned Kelly, a sort of Robin Hood-meets-Billy the Kid. Drinnan plays his mother. And Kim herself plays his unborn - or perhaps deceased - infant daughter.
"It's probably the worst stage to try and articulate what the piece is about," confesses Kim a week before opening night. "I'm still inside it and trying to figure out who I am at all."
The question of identity follows Kim wherever she goes.
"Modern dance in Toronto feels like home," says Kim, who also teaches and writes. "In the dance world there's lots of bitching and complaining, but when I retire I'm going to miss rolling around on dirty floors."
With files from Jeanette Alt