Fringe Review: “Re-Imagined”: A Colourful Everyday Embodiment of Philosophy


In this short dance piece, international choreographer Eva Kolarova presents “Re-Imagined,” an excerpt from a contemporary ballet. As a stand-alone piece, it breathes relatable representations of love and loneliness, corporeality and connection, self and other, life and death, and other experiences of human existence.

Performed by Kolarova, Jerimy Rivera, and Ashley Werhun in an intimate black box setting, this existential choreography displays Kolarova’s reputedly unique “hybrid dance vocabulary.” Incorporating both classical and contemporary techniques, the choreography features stunning lifts, embraces, and spins, as well as deliberate laughter, smiles, and eye contact. Sometimes, the dancers simply cross the stage, like a fleeting passerby. Sometimes, they reach toward the unseen audience, searching for connection or perhaps something deeper beyond our gaze. Sometimes, they run in place, as if being called, alone, toward something. Sometimes, they allow themselves to fall, or to swim through existence.

“Re-Imagined” is a simple yet vibrant production that simultaneously provokes thought and stimulates the senses. Its use of sound and lighting create a multi-sensory experience, while also piquing the audience’s intellect. The lighting design creates a sense of magical realism, with brightly saturated yellow and blue washes, and wide dream-like spotlights, framed by columns of black drapes. The costume design—street clothes with red socks—gives the bodies onstage a vibrant everydayness. 

The dancers move to music, silence, and Alan Watts lectures on philosophy, metaphysics, and. spirituality. The spoken score interestingly the viewer’s inner voice attempting to interpret the abstract movement before them. Instead, in the split activity of listening to a lecture and observing complex choreography, the mind must allow the one to interpret the other, whatever correlations or discrepancies may arise. 

The first solo is scored to Alan Watts speaking about death, the interval of life, while a soft piano plays. Kolarova’s choreography complements Watts’ imagery of the crests and troughs of a wave. Movements with mandala-like symmetry contribute to a beauty both mathematical and poetic, observed and imagined. The next excerpt from Watts’ lectures is on the subject of the Self and Other, the inside and outside, coming together to form “one total body,” and the feeling of being alienated from one’s environment. These relatable philosophical musings act as questions burning within the different characters onstage. Watts also speaks of the difference between seriousness and sincerity; the former being a “kind of gravity,” while the latter is godlike in its playfulness and lightness. An intimate duet between dancers embodies the intermingling between gravity and levity, as they play with tension, weight, and centripetal force. 

Kolarova’s choreography artistically represents elements of human experience: intimacy in the face of existential uncertainty; connection between strangers, however forced, desperate, awkward, sweet, or unreciprocated; or how people learn from each other, imitate each other, thinking others have life more figured out.

Although only just 25 minutes, the piece follows a cyclical narrative, as the last moment brings us full-circle to the first moment. Given this cyclical structure, as well as the richness of the images in between, “Re-Imagined” is definitely a show that merits being seen twice. 

For anyone looking for a quick but satisfying show that stimulates the senses and the psyche with technicolour vibrancy. 

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Eva Kolarova Danse presents “Re-Imagined”
at the 29th St-Ambroise Montreal Fringe Festival

Performances: June 13 – 16, 2019
Venue: 05 – Studio Jean-Valcourt du Conservatoire
 4750 Henri-Julien, Montréal, H2T 2C8 
Admission: $7 – 10
Box Office:
514.849.FEST (3378)

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Check out all our other 70+ reviews 
from this year’s fest on our Fringe page!

Celine Cardineau

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