>light-time-open space by les ballets jazz de montreal
>reviewed by ma shaoling
26 nov 2001
Jazz de Montreal since its inception in the early 1970s, has been able
to establish itself on the international dance scene with a not uncommon
repertoire of neo-classical dance grounded in ballet and nourished by
other currents of contemporary art. But what sets this company apart,
in the words of Andree Martin (Le Devoir), is that their primary objective
"is not to portray the existential anguish of human beings but
LIGHT-TIME-OPEN SPACE showcased 6 pieces of varying themes, each having no plot as such, all sharing the stage in simple lighting and costume. The strengths of the corps de ballet, however, seemed really to shine through only towards the end, especially in 'No Strings Attached' that managed to bring the audience to a near frenzy.
number 'Two dances for Jane' provided a slow but interesting opening with
an unusual pas de deux that functioned almost like a solo. The male dancer,
Louis Robitaille, who is the artistic director for the company, stood
with his back facing the audience while his female partner, Cherice Barton
engages absorbingly in her own energetic moves. The second part of the
dance saw Robitaille remaining the passive partner, as Baron continued
furtively to draw him in, only to see Robitaille walk nonchalantly across
And as the audiences themselves tapped to the jazzy beats, one of course
realises that there can
number 'Sous le rythme, je...' appeared full of potential as
The fifth number titled 'clin d'oeil', which means "a wink" in English, was indeed performed in a flash as its title aptly suggests. Robert Rubinger managed in barely five minutes a solo piece that showcased flexibility and confidence, pushing his body to the limits akin to breakdancing. As short as this piece was, it indeed represented the scope of talents that the Canadian company has - to have such a versatility that all modern dance companies envy.
Finally, the show closed with the heart-stopping 'No Strings Attached', choreographed by Mia Michaels, a recipient of the Dance Educators of America's "President Cup", and for best choreography at the Jazz Dance World Congress. Not surprisingly, this piece is the company's oldest in the entire programme. Every move and nuance was executed to perfection by the group of seven dancers. Once again dressed in comfortable street wear, and continuing the easy and up front relationship with their audiences, the dancers did not once slow down their jazz tempos. Dancing to the infectious original funk-jazz score composed by Albert Sterling Menendez, the artists at times gathered in groups, and at other times partnered one another for lifts and jumps. The intense characterisation of each individual dancer was revealed through his or her expression, and of course in the pure technical virtuosity that fused both balletic arabesques with modern pirouettes and high kicks.
All in all,
Les Ballets Jazz de Montreal provided an evening of dance that did not
once fear to push itself to the limits. And as the audiences themselves
tapped their feet to the jazzy beats, one of course realised that there
can be no limits, after all, to enjoyment such as this.