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AUDIENCE REVIEW: AZOTH Dance Theatre at the TANK
AZOTH Dance Theatre
AZOTH Dance Theatre presented its Fall Season at the Tank—and it was quite a show! There was a performance on Sunday November 5th and one on Wednesday November 15th. The first performance was so breathtaking, inspiring and powerful that I had to attend the second one!
Both shows opened with the piece « Intimité » that AZOTH Dance Theatre’s choreographer Jonathan Breton choreographed in 2012 and which was premiered in Paris. Everything about this piece is mesmerizing. The dancer is dancing in a circle of lights that she gradually turns off during the piece until a total black out. The choreography is powerful and very sensitive. Ayaka Kamei was performing this piece on both performances - She is an outstanding dancer with great technique and elegance and this piece was a must-see.
Mr. Breton likes to play with fabric in his work, which reminded me of Jiri Kylian. Indeed, the company presented a solo piece with a long orange sheet, which was performed by Alexandre Balmain, as well as a piece with a magnificent wedding dress that was performed by Lara Tant (AZOTH Dance Theatre’s director) and Jonathan Breton.
It was incredible to see these two pieces in this intimate theatre! Besides seing the beauty of the moving fabric, we would also hear the sound it was making while moving, spinning and being thrown in the air. Very hypnotic!
The first piece, entitled « Ad Aeternam », was so nice and brought the audience in such an intriguing universe that we wish it would be a longer work (I believe the piece was about 3 minutes long). Not mentioning that the performance of Mr. Balmain was wonderful and that the audience could appreciate the beauty of the muscles of a dancers, especially while in movement.
« Madeleine », the piece with the wedding dress, was an excerpt of the work. It started with a solo performed by Lara Tant, followed by a solo performed by Alexandre Balmain, and ended with a duet performed by Ms. Tant and Mr. Breton. The whole work was filled with beauty and rare emotion. The choreography was really well crafted, really original, and the way Ms. Tant masters the huge wedding she is dancing in is incredible. Again, we wished we could see more, that we could see the whole piece! Such beauty and inspiration coming from it!
Mr. Breton performed a couple solos as well, showing that he was not only a great choreographer but also a very inspiring dancer. The first half of his solo was performed blindfolded. Mentioning that this dancer has perfect control and amazing technique is an understatement! It felt like he wasn’t impaired by the blindfold that was covering his eyes and his movement was still sharp, big, and very expressive. The second half of the piece was much more emotional and it really did bring tears to my eyes. The choreography, lights and music all together was a perfect match and like all AZOTH Dance Theatre’s other works, it really told a story to the audience.
The very last piece that concluded both performances was « Black Sand », a duet choreographed and performed by Mr. Balmain and Mr. Breton. This piece was definitely one of the hits of the evenings. The connection between the two dancers was amazing and something we rarely see on stage (and we wish we would!), the work was so well crafted and outstanding and the music so well picked that you can’t look away from the stage and from the two powerful, compelling, sensual and energetic performers. Such a wonderful work !
On November 15th, AZOTH Dance Theatre also invited two guest companies to share the stage for their final Fall Season performance : LLMoves and Encounters. It was very refreshing to see all these young dancers and companies coming together for such a wonderful show. All the works that the companies presented was really interested as well and I am grateful for AZOTH Dance Theatre to present such a wonderful and strong program, helping other companies to emerge as well.
As a conclusion, Mr Breton’s choreography is remarkable and very unique in many ways. He has is own universe and drags you into it. Energies are really subtle, it’s both soft and powerful, sensitive and sharp, elegant and raw. It’s technical but it’s not So You Think You Can Dance, so you really enjoy the work and feel the emotions. If a leg is going up, it feels like there is a reason for it and that it’s not just showing off. The choreography is not about dancing but about humans telling a story by using their body to do so, which is really enjoyable.
The choreographic choices and the way the work is built are smart and very well crafted. It all run smooth, you are on the edge of your seat and the show ends before you even know it.
We wish we could see more choreographic work of this caliber and although the Tank is a nice intimate theatre that holds an honorable mission toward the arts and artists, it would be amazing to see AZOTH Dance Theatre’s work on a bigger stage such as the Joyce or BAM. They truly deserve it and they present such an outstanding program, dedication and talent that there is no doubt that they will keep growing as a major art organization.
Photo copyright: AZOTH Dance Theatre.