Dancer Matt Waldie bites into some Hay.
UP UNTIL NOW choreographed by Deborah Hay (Toronto Dance Theatre), at the Winchester (80 Winchester). To February 7. See Dance Listings. Rating: NNN
Now in her mid-60s, choreographer Deborah Hay is more innovative and experimental than most dance artists half her age. That's clear from the first few moments of Up Until Now, her challenging new commission from Toronto Dance Theatre.
The audience enters, greeted by several TDT dancers who examine us intently, humming or chanting to themselves. Once the show proper begins, they intersect with Zen-like concentration. That vibe is infectious, encouraging us to get into the laid-back rhythm as well.
There's an improvisatory feel to the work, but nothing seems arbitrary. Each dancer seems to have a goal, even if it's to howl gibberish continually. Dancer Matt Waldie has the most extroverted part, an unbroken 10-minute solo full of manic energy and twisted movement. Later, in a less successful section, he gets to vocalize.
Some scenarios are hypnotic in their repetition; other movements are so basic and pure they seem like philosophical statements.
The current TDT company is a bit young, and some performers have yet to leave an individual imprint. This work, which emphasizes being in the moment, should help them find exactly who they are.