fifty-one pieces of silver choreography by marie-josÉe Chartier presented by Dancemakers at the Premiere Dance Theatre (207 Queen's Quay West), Tuesday-Saturday (April 23-27) at 8 pm. $16.75-$37.50. 416-973-4000. Rating: NNNNN
marie-josée chartier's newest work includes people banging on big rectangular sheets of galvanized steel and tossing metal hoops to each other.No, she hasn't joined Stomp or Cirque du Soleil. These unique moves -- that go way beyond dance -- are part of her much-anticipated full-length Dancemakers commission, fifty-one pieces of silver.
"The dancers have got to manipulate objects that have a life of their own," explains Chartier, nearing the end of the seven-week rehearsal process of Dancemakers' first full-length commission in 12 years.
"While one couple is doing tricky lifts in space, five other dancers throw and roll hoops amongst themselves. They're almost like magicians. It's very poetic, but the metal gives it this harsh look."
The former Dancemakers performer has always been interested in visual arts and music. Her haunting works, like last year's fFIDA hit Sous Nos Yeux, are closer to performance art than to contemporary dance.
"This piece is about construction and deconstruction," she explains.
"When the show starts, there's a landscape, then some of it comes down and you explore different spaces, and then it transforms again," she says. "Two-thirds of the way in, all the elements are there, but it's sparer."
The score, too, is about building, collapsing and exploring what's inside. Composer Henry Kucharzyk has expanded his work Corral -- a piece, coincidentally, written in memory of Chartier's late husband, composer Michael J. Baker -- by digging into the material, sifting through its contents and adding some metallic sounds that form a motif in the show.
Chartier's decision to work with metal and aluminum came after passing a construction site in Bilbao, Spain, and hearing the sound of sheet metal wobbling in the wind.
She was also inspired by the work of visual artists like Eduardo Chillida and Cornelia Parker.
"We have metal hoops, ball bearings and lots of imagery that suggests a world spinning," she says. "The silver in the title isn't literal -- we don't have the budget. But if you want to believe it's silver, go ahead."