Arts Farther Out at On the Boards
posted by March 30 at 13:20 PMon
That is the iconic image On the Boards has been using for its 2006-2007 season. It’s from a dance piece called Farther Out by the Vancouver company Kidd Pivot that is playing now as part of a split dance bill with another Vancouver company called MovEnt. It’s pretty great.
(Although “split bill” has always seemed like a weird term—especially on OtB’s current marquee, which reads “Split Bill Dance.” Which sounds like a chorus line of injured ducks.)
Farther Out is, nominally, about an astronaut who is assaulted by an alien. It’s also about telling the same story several different ways. It’s also about a writer (the astronaut) in front of her typewriter, wrestling with an idea (the alien). There is a great looped and fucked-with voiceover by Annie Dillard. There is a typewriter suspended from the ceiling that the astronaut spins, then releases, then dances beneath. The alien moves like an alien—with the stop-motion specificity of a bird or a breakdancer—and the astronaut moves like her whole body is moonwalking.
There are surprises. There is tap dancing. There is intellectual and emotional content beneath strange, beautiful, can’t-stop-watching-it choreography. It’s theatrical and smart and fun.
Surge by MovEnt, was very good, very competent, though not nearly as imaginative. But the three ladies on stage worked hard, chugging and thrashing and kung-fu kicking like human dynamos to the sounds of trains and pianos and machines welded together into strong, sometimes unsettling, rhythms. (By Alan Brodie and Gordon Cobb.) As one audience member put it: “It’s like George Winston meets Rammstein.”
It looked like this (but with only three dancers):
It’s fine. It’ll make you want to get some exercise. But Farther Out is the one you’ll remember.