'A Strange Day for Mr. K' in Kanopy Dance Company's Mime Body Spirit
Kanopy Dance Company opened its 2014-2015 season Friday evening with Mime Body Spirit at Overture Center's Promenade Hall. "Making visible the invisible" is in pale script beneath the title, and that goal is achieved.
Kanopy co-directors Lisa Thurrell and Robert Cleary were inspired after seeing a performance by Steve Wasson and Corrine Soum's international corporeal mime company Theatre de l'Ange Fou and pursued a collaboration with these experts, both of whom were assistants to Étinenne Decroux, the "father of modern mime." If you are put off by the idea of mime, don't be; the performance is an exploration of the human condition and Kanopy, by always welcoming collaboration, shows audiences something new while elevating their own work.
The program also features guest artists who are acclaimed dancers and teachers from the Martha Graham Dance Company.
Thurrell choreographed and performs in "Lamentation Variation" with Deb Goodman and Sandra Kaufmann. All three are compelling performers who slice through space with precision and elegance, exposing their grief.
"Summoned by Silence" is from Martin Løfsnes, who pairs with Carrie Ellmore-Tallitsch to the melancholy throb of Samuel Barber's music. You see the power and skill in their physicality, but the most striking moments come when they simply walk forward, the bare meditative movement slowed and exaggerated.
Wasson and Soum's "Resonance II" reveals that these two are still beautiful movers who imbue meaning into every gesture.
"Last Call" is a tender elegy from Donlin Foreman, who performs it with his wife, Jenny Emerson Foreman. He sweeps her up into his arms, her dress fanning out while her legs gently bicycle through the air.
"A Strange Day for Mr. K" was choreographed for the company by Wasson and Soum. It's clear that the company members and guest artists took their corporeal mime training seriously -- especially the gifted Juan Carlos Diaz Velez, who stars as the sweetly innocent Mr. K around whom crazy things are occurring. He pines for Olivia Rivard while desperately holding on to his suitcase and sanity.
The program's offerings are often about love and loss, and are bound together by honesty. Mime. Body. Spirit. will be performed again on Saturday, Nov. 15, at 5 p.m. and 8 p.m., and on Sunday, Nov. 16, at 2:30 p.m.