Upping the ante on dance coverage and conversation
we show you what we want to
Photo: Sasha Onyshchenko

we show you what we want to

by Charly Santagado and desire amaiya

ballets jazz montréal

1: can you catch what is not thrown? / can you caress what is tossed?


it won’t happen again
is echoed in a whisper
shadows of lived stories
grow weary through time, it will happen again
anything you want, anything
to me, just ask, it will happen again,
five bodies, black mesh
quick, smooth, a whip of touch
the same shapes traversing through feeling
never quite catching on
never quite grasping except through brightness
what is shone and what is hidden
swimming through the body but is it felt?
swirling, petting
green lights indicating a new world
the impulse to feel but the intake of air is quiet, unheard, unseen
hidden trust


automated dancers “relax” mesh unison and pointed feet inviting empty relationships not emancipating what’s animating? unintentional void externally initiated no juice motif repetition the crying laziness of dark no risk devoid “you want to relax” “you work”

voices, seven facing upstage,, beat comes in, “just relax”, black pants tops, black socks, movement is a bit understated,unison adjacent,, balletic elements, not immersive or and energy between dancers and between the dancers and the sound, cliche contemporary transitions, for the spectator, this GOBOs,, almost all solo duo trio, no group, predictable transitions, everything internal / depth, very frontal which is ironic considering the upstage facing opening, want more and like of move in the trio, lighting and music, or statement, running arms cliche, contact want to


2: can you show me what you don’t want me to see?


classic Pite ring of lights, energetic don’t buy it yet literal and imagined manipulation, overlapping duets, very placed, rolling light, limping motif, pointed feet, not a feeling of naturalness, more, stillness, maybe we feel we need it more now as a society or maybe it’s just me growing more mature, a bit obvious, mixing gender thank god, music doesn’t shy away, the anti-jump era of contemporary,

not sure this is aging well, I’ve learned parts of this rep before, marimba / xylophone? comparison to fashion, too close to really appreciate the aesthetic yet? costumes also haven’t seemed to evolve, there are already dance artifacts from the early 2000s! away from drama


3: are moments enough? can a moment sustain through time? can a moment be done again? can a moment end the same way it began?


No names of dancers with pieces in the program… jig

not cool, string music, French, groove, some mimesis of lyrics, big cast, the first body captivates the tale and slows down time

tap sounds, tap and afro infused movement, aerial and leap..? Fiddle, Irish inflection? Squares a rush of energy as each dancer comes to life

of light, dramatic classical music, brown tone costumes, operatic voice, unison, surprising rhythms, boxes of light

hand over crotch motif, percussive elements, washes across the stage of pointed feet and heavy heads released

definitely still balletic, want more leaning into absurdity a game of seeing and being

from the dancers, but a rarity of connection

it seems warranted by the choreography, are they even friends with each other? Like NBA skin on skin and body on body

All-Star team or something, cool diverse sound score that still feels cohesive, could lean even more into folk vibe in less tricky moments? but where is the soul in this game

Nice transitions and use of asymmetry, Canadian dance really feels like it lives between American screaming

and silent

European, want more fun and release, showing some personality but still very reserved, scream not believable, open mouthed anguish

don’t feel possession by music or spirit, into the ground and within reason

a lot of moments that feel interestingly open for interpretation, why crotch motif? Don’t feel it, a little logical, methodical, careful, calculated

Disneyfied, people interchangeable and not, perfect

nice surprising / unpredictable moments, synonym duets, moments of titillation

a little desert energy, not much greater than the sum of its parts, some human moments interspersed, lateral passes yes! fleeting suggestion

But wish moved more into the absurd and had more groove, it nearly ends the same way it begins

less restraint, good balance of how much to look at during any given moment, fierce unison duets, guys in center are giving, but it doesn’t and that is unexpected but i am not surprised

mouth as lumb not really working, back run chugs from guy wearing tie, return of tap choreography, could learn something from Hofesh, why are two dancers in navy? i am glad

This piece doesn’t need leads, not quite matching the energy of the music for the most part, all in lightboxes again, dragging a bit, wonder if I would like this more or less on second watch? Leaning toward more it will happen again

Essence, Ballets Jazz Montreal, Penn Live Arts, Feb. 9-10, 2024

February 21, 2024

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