THE SATIE PROJECT choreography by Serge Bennathan, with pianist Eve Egoyan. Presented by Dancemakers at the Premiere Dance Theatre (207 Queen's Quay West) until Oct 19. 416-973-4000. Rating: NNNN Rating: NNNN
At the top of The Satie Project, a blood-red backdrop shoots up suddenly to the sounds of thunder and clashing music.From there, seven dancers race through 75 minutes of frenetic dance and bizarre antics.
Inspired by the eccentric French composer Erik Satie, choreographer Serge Bennathan mixes stirring compositions with Satie's soundscapes of voices and random noises.
Pianist Eve Egoyan performs on a stage lined with pot lights, against a textured backdrop that looks like a waterfall of rose petals. She's often a key part of the action, crawling onto the piano to pluck its strings or getting dragged away by dancers who dress her up and tear her music to bits.
Bennathan's choreography echoes the often jarring compositions. Violent thrashings and frantic twists abound.
Dancers roll and crawl at top speed across the floor. They fling themselves repeatedly into the air and drop hard to the ground. These are no delicate dancers evoking the ethereal. Instead, they cluck like hens in totem-pole formation during an oddly engaging chicken dance.
Sometimes there's too much chaos at once, and the emotional power fades. But lush chords and lyrical moments create lasting effects. An intense male pas de deux moves between tenderness and aggression, while female dancers sway gently to the sound of wind and bombs.
It's an odd duck, this piece. But so is the man who wrote Flabby Preludes (For A Dog), one of the compositions used in the show.