There's something for everyone in choreographer and poet Serge Bennathan's unique, soul-baring mix of powerful performance, cerebral concepts and technical trickery, Few Thousand Miles....
His eight-member Dancemakers crew showcase all their considerable chops in the up-close-and-personal environs of the Theatre Centre, where subtle facial expressions and the sounds of human breath become as crucial to the package as the high-powered moves and emotionally potent narrative.
Set to Bennathan's own overtly personal poems about a life lived in pursuit of dance, and augmented by a hypnotic string score by Geoffrey Bennett, the hour-long show is a captivating, kaleidoscopic haul over the peaks and into the valleys of the physical arts.
Beautifully recited and acted out by Hope Terry, the verses evoke a vast range of feelings, while the demanding choreography carries the dancers through their mood swings on a truckload of stylistic surprises.
Fear, foreboding and anguish over the loss of friends and fellow dance-world denizens figure prominently in Bennathan's journey. But he consistently jacks up the crowd with high doses of borderline surreal, unexpected humour.
To wit, Julia Aplin pulls off a most absurdly manic tap routine. At one point, during the mock intermission, Julia Sasso conducts her cohorts in a silly choral arrangement concerning cookies and cats.
And the climax -- Terry's dramatic solo sprint alongside the group's slo-mo striding -- is worth the price of admission alone.
Daring stuff. Under Bennathan's direction, the 'Makers have come, as the title suggests, a very long way.
FEW THOUSAND MILES..., written and choreographed by SERGE BENNATHAN, performed by DANCEMAKERS, at the Theatre Centre (1032 Queen West) through May 27, Thursday-Saturday at 8 pm, matinee Wednesday at 1 pm. $15. 538-0988. Rating: NNNN