Review: Fringe hit “Dance Side of the Moon” makes Encore at the Mainline

Helen Simard's award-winning contemporary dance piece receives riveting revival

From October 3rd – 7th 2018, MainLine Theatre presents “ENCORE” – a new series featuring Fringe festival hits from Montreal and beyond. On the roster: “Dance Side of the Moon”

Having received the “Bouge D’Ici Award for Best Choreography” and a nomination for the “Mainline Theatre Creativity” Award upon premiering at the 2018 St-Ambroise Montreal Fringe earlier this summer, it comes as no surprise or deception to see “Dance Side of the Moon” included in the prime lineup of this year’s ENCORE programming.

Billed as a re-imagining of Pink Floyd’s iconic concept album “The Dark Side of the Moon”, the remounted contemporary creation is the brainchild of Montreal-based choreographer Helen Simard, who has become known in the milieu to draw inspiration from rock aesthetics to devise innovatory interdisciplinary works (the Iggy Pop-influenced “Idiot” was our top pick at this year’s Wildside Festival). Her latest conception, while smaller in scale in comparison to the aforementioned audiovisual spectacle staged at the Centaur, proves just as bold, visceral, and galvanizing in its simplicity and sincerity.

Maxine Segalowitz in “Dance Side of the Moon” (Photo: Kimura Lemoine)

A solo dance act performed by Fringe darling Maxine Segalowitz, “Dance Side Of The Moon” uses Simard’s unique choreography and Kim-Sanh Châu’s original video projections to bring one of the most  influential concept music albums of all time to life. Satisfyingly bizarre, irrational, and dreamlike in quality, the movement piece explores the collective human need for connection in a surrealist fashion, reflecting on the relatable individual experiences of fear, isolation, and hope. It’s profoundly uncomfortable and at once wholly inviting, deftly defying the logical to invoke the emotional.

As the epic record is played (by Simard) from the booth in the shadows, its lyrical themes of conflict and insanity find fine form in Segalowitz – art, personified. It’s a remarkable display of poetic energy, stamina, control, and litheness as she writhes and contorts in and against space, time, and matter. At times the physicality is wild and explosive, at others it is delicate and precise; ultimately, however, the movement language is indefinable and nondescript. No written review can render justice or accuracy to the live, sensorial experience conjured by the performer’s light and electricity.

Maxine Segalowitz in “Dance Side of the Moon” (Photo: Kimura Lemoine)

In this winsome encore presentation, the original site-specific “Dance Side” transfers from the FreeStanding Room to the Mainline, bringing with it palpable changes in staging to preserve the intimacy of the piece in a larger venue – most notably, greater moments of fourth-wall breaking (prepare to hold props and to be climbed over). Indeed, the most memory-enduring and moving aspect of the piece is the displayed affection and regard towards its audience. Simard and collaborators have here tapped into a seemingly inexhaustible reservoir of creativity to mastermind a “show that is about music, about how music brings us together and can carry us through our moments of relation and despair.”

Dance Side of the Moon” deals with the notion of how everyday pressures of modern life can lead to madness, and is fearless in embracing chaos to connect. Don’t miss the Fringe favourite remounted at the MainLine through October 6th.

MainLine Theatre presents as part of its ENCORE: Fringe Series

Dance Side of the Moon

Created by: Helen Simard, with the collaborators
Performer/Collaborator: Maxine Segalowitz
Video Collaborator: Kim-Sanh Châu
Production Assistant: Roger White
Music: Pink Floyd

Performances: October 3 – 6, 2018

Running time: 45 minutes

Venue: MainLine Theatre
3997 Boul Saint-Laurent

Tickets: $15
Please call (514-849-FEST) for same day sales

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