Edinburgh Fringe 2021
A tribute to dance as a liberating force. In this first part of Preludes, a diptych by reputed Montreal-based choreographer Sylvain Émard, 20 dancers form a big circle on the public space. The circle represents the cycles of nature. It evokes ritual, a spirit of communion, unity. Prelude #1 – The Circle reconsiders the notion of ritual in a context where the very idea of people gathering together is being called into question.
A circle of 20 dancers in street clothes move slowly in unison in front of an atmospheric 1960’s architecture of curves and intersecting lines. They shrug, undulate, attempt progress in the circle and then fall back, always at a distance from each other as the camera picks up individual dancers in committed motion – this is the beginning of Sylvain Emard’s satisfying dance created during covid restrictions, Prelude #1- The Circle. Supported by a ringing score of chimes and continuous beat, the gestures expand to include spins, hops and lunges, and build to movements of syncopation that slip back to the inevitable unison motion forwards. Based on group ritual, we feel a sense of community and isolation within the community. It was a pleasure to watch this tribe of young and skilled dancers in shades of green and taupe moving together in a circle with intention, commitment and clarity. We feel the restriction of covid distancing and the relentless joy of moving despite restriction.
The dance shifts to a climax of staccato and individualistic gestures that become a frenzy of unison jumps and kicks that resolve in a quiet group conclusion.
This was a meditative AND active combination of motion and gesture beautifully filmed on a sunny plaza in Quebec. The choreography felt purposeful and revealing of an inner yearning both for autonomy and community. The performances, design elements and masterful film editing contributed to the full impact of the dance. An Excellent Show.