PARIS 1994/GALLERY directed and choreographed by D.A. Hoskins, with Danielle Baskerville and Tyler Gledhill. Presented by The Dietrich Group and World Stage at the Enwave (231 Queens Quay West). To April 28. $15-$35. 416-973-4000. See listing. Rating: NNN
There's a temptation in a lot of contemporary dance to throw in everything but the kitchen sink.
That's certainly the case with D.A. Hoskins's Paris 1994/Gallery. And actually, Hoskins does throw in several sinks, but they look more like laundry sinks, and they're employed more as ersatz lamps - with bulbs coming through the drain holes - than places to hold water.
Water comes in a later scene, when dancer Tyler Gledhill strips off his clothes, guzzles some H2O from a bottle and then spits it up into the air, fountain style, making the floor and his naked body glisten.
You get the point, right? Lots of stuff happening.
When performers Gledhill and Danielle Baskerville actually get to dance, it's quite wonderful. One particular duet, placed in the centre of the hour-long show, subtly hints at a relationship, with power struggles and familiar caresses all performed to what sounds like trees being yanked out of the earth.
Baskerville has the expressive eyes and mysterious smile of a glamorous Hollywood starlet from another era, while the lean and graceful Gledhill shows tremendous concentration in his fluid, effortless movement.
The Paris 1994 of the title and some spoken and recorded French clue us in to the setting of a possible affair between the two characters. But Hoskins seems more enamoured of the "Gallery" part of the title, presenting various visual snapshots and forcing us to put things together in a coherent way.
Hence we have some nice layered film imagery by Nico Stagias, some on-the-fly real-time camcorder action, some talking into microphones - oh, and a bag of sand that's upended, placed on a hook and made to spill its contents slowly over a flower. Sands of time, get it?
It's all a bit precious and self-consciously cryptic. Hoskins should stick to what he knows best - choreography - and leave the gallery stuff to the visual artists.