Review: “Alone Together” – on now until April 14, 2018 (Toronto)
Alone Together is a double bill consisting of There she was and Taking Breath which use dance in an examination of human connection. Constructed as a reality that is both chaotic and calming, Alone Together merges two performances that are similar in structure yet different in every other way.
Taking A Breath is a comment on communication barriers caused by cultural differences. Best described as controlled chaos, the performance is the brainchild of Naishi Wang who brings the audience into his world with tension and vulnerability. Daringly performed without music, the story was as heart-breaking as it was inventive with Wang using his body and voice to bring the audience into his personal experience. His sounds and facial expressions allowed the audience to be a witness while providing several access points for communication into the performance itself. The dance and movement-based work borders on performance art and provide a continual supply of inventive movements that seamlessly flow into one another.
There she was is part lesson in humanity, and part invitation to connect into the struggle embellished by a sophisticated soundscaping that could rival Hollywood (think: minimalist Moulin Rouge mixed with Bladerunner.). While nudity can often distract an audience from the storyline, the choreographer/dancer Jane-Alison McKinney transformed herself into a fluid statue-like representation of a Goddess trapped in a cultural struggle requiring escape. If the impossibility of dancing on six-inch stilettos doesn’t grab you, her closing words will.
By juxtaposing these two performances, the audience has an opportunity to not only observe each as separate pieces but the process of comparing them, creates a third level of appreciation. This third level is what gives Alone Together its magic which could only be maximized by eliminating the show’s intermission which effectively pulls the audience from their experience in exchange for an unneeded restroom break.
Alone Together will take you on a journey that marries connection and chaos in a way that’ll leave you longing for more. From the start, the show keeps its promise to allow the audience to connect into the performers but it’s the combined effect of both performances that will have you thinking about it for days to come.
April 11-14, 2018
The Citadel: Ross Centre for Dance
304 Parliament Street
Choreographed and performed by Jane-Alison McKinney, Naishi Wang
About the Author
Raymond Helkio is an author, director filmmaker, and graduate of Ontario College of Art & Design. He currently lives in both Toronto and New York. His most recent play, LEDUC, is now available in paperback. www.raymondhelkio.com