Project InTandem’s Co/exist and Fated premiered at The GRAND in Calgary on Oct. 20-21 as part of Fluid Festival’s 2022 program.
Project InTandem opened this year’s Fluid Festival in Calgary with a production featuring two world premieres: Co/exist by Vancouver-based choreographer Karissa Barry and Fated, choreographed by Laja Field of the American company LajaMartin. The double bill starts with softness and strength and ends with fierce lines.
Co/exist features five dancers: Meghann Michalsky, Sylvie Moquin, Reese Wilson, Kaili Che and Barry. The group are costumed by Barry in white tank tops and business-like pants.
The choreography explores transformation, in groups and in individuals. As the performance unfolds, the group begins to branch off into solos and duets while the rest of the dancers crouch or lie in a corner of the stage. Sometimes the movements mimic waves that spread throughout the assembly. It is soft and yet has such strength that I find myself wishing I could see more of the dancers’ bodies; I feel myself missing seeing the sheer power of their movements.
Co/exist features music by Hania Rani, Dobrawa Czocher, Ketev Perila & Ulla, Oliver Brouwer and Eric Holm. The sounds move through pulsing beats to intense piano and strings.
These technical aspects of choreography and sound are strong, but the piece’s narrative and vision feel weak. The themes of togetherness and isolation are present in the production but still a bit vague in the process. It feels a bit like the piece has little to express.
Fated, the second performance of the evening, featuring choreography by Field, has a narrative of fire personified. Two dancers, Michalsky and Moquin (both playing Fire), are put on trial for the inferno burning the world. “The world is on fire and we are always creating and destroying,” says a voiceover that plays as the piece opens.
The movement is visceral, hard and hitting. It almost feels dangerous with its depth and grit. Fire lights up the stage in a duet of lifts and falls, with an R&B feel and sequences that almost resemble breakdancing. There are theatrical elements too, with Fire defending itself in a courtroom and Moquin listing reasons why Fire is not at fault.
The performance uses red trench coats and black suit jackets to depict imprisonment onstage and the inability to contain fire. Chris DePape’s lighting design brings the theatrical elements to life. Angela Dale’s costume design makes it look like the dancers have soot all over them.
It’s all clever and sharp and the movement has a certainty to it, though Fated seems to have a little more vision and spirit than Co/exist. Nevertheless, every artist in InTandem’s production showcases strength and ability, each executing the movements with fluidity and grace.
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