All the way from Boston, contemporary dance company Jo-Mé Dance presents “Intrinsic,” a lyrical depiction of the turmoil, tension, conflict, fear, and desire that comes with the struggle of “belonging” and other human dilemmas.
“Intrinsic” is a compilation of three choreographic works. The production feels like a series of chapters or excerpts, each beginning and ending quite abruptly.
This dance piece resembles a recital, in that the choreography is led by the extremely emotive musical compositions, and sometimes overpowered by it. Nevertheless, audiences will be carried away by the musical experience and the dancers’ lyrical movements. Every moment of the show is photo-worthy, illustrating the ethereal, thunderous instrumentals.
The choreographers achieve a balance of hard and soft movement, with just a few unexpected moments interrupting the fluid, sweeping gestures. Moments of stillness force the dancers to hold the tension, like the note of a violin, in tableaus of intertwining bodies. Diaman Wood’s choreography “Nervosa” involves convulsions in the dancer’s core, sometimes while being lifted or held, creating a striking image. While Wood’s choreography (the first in the series) is overall softer and more predictable, the last piece becomes more interesting, distorting the expectations of classical dance or beauty. It is also the most grotesque chapter, involving an illusion of dismembered body parts strewn across the floor.
Relationships between the company of dancers ebb and flow, with individuals often breaking from the group and rejoining. Many solos and duets are impressive, including a captivating two-man duet, but a double duet under two stark spotlights create a particularly striking illusion of hybrid bodies shifting in the near-darkness.
The most captivating moments are perhaps not the dancers’ impressive pirouettes, spins, and lifts; but rather, moments of pure expression in their faces, hands, and breath. Occasionally, the company gasps in unison, softly breaking their silence. Often, the dancers seem to surrender themselves to the musical compositions, with anguish painted on their faces, to reflect the melody’s turmoil. Seeing their intense gazes and emotional connection with the music is just as beautiful as seeing their bodies contort to the choreography.
Light acts as a motif throughout the piece, adding narrative qualities to the abstract movement. The company of dancers first emerges, walking straight toward the warm side-lighting, as if facing the eastern sun. Later, the dancers seem drawn to the side lights, moving toward them until they poetically disappear in sudden darkness. Often, their hands reach toward the light, illuminating their expressiveness. The lighting is also used to create contrast with the choreography; rosy lights illuminate the dancers’ sharp, beating movements, while red lights are paired with sweeping, delicate movements.
Jo-Mé Dance prides itself on being a multicultural company, and it is indeed inspiring to see so many talented BIPOC onstage.
If you enjoy sitting back and enjoying a beautiful, expressive, visual and musical experience, then make sure to catch “Intrinsic.”
Jo-Mé Dance Theatre presents “Intrinsic”
at the 29th St-Ambroise Montreal Fringe Festival
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Driven by her passion for contemporary art and writing, Cardineau pens reviews, interviews, and analyses informed by her own multidisciplinary practice. She formerly held the positions of Head Writer and Online Editor for Yiara Magazine, a feminist art and art history publication. She is excited about what this year’s Fringe Festival has to offer, especially in the context of theatre and politics today.
Find out more about Cardineau’s recent projects and upcoming exhibitions/productions at cardineauceline.myportfolio.com