Bloodletting and Other Pleasant Things

Bloodletting and Other Pleasant Things

The Thursday night performance of "Bloodletting and other pleasant things", the latest number from Distillery District-based Dancemakers, culminated for me during Robert Abubo's eerie, spasmatic solo. A longtime collaborator with choreographer Tony Chong at Ottawa's Le Groupe Dance Lab, and a first-time Dancemaker this season, Robert's mannequin-jointed, off-balance bending was self-accompanied by his vulnerable, whining falsetto, and rocked by fits that suggested self-loathing as much as futile rebellion. This is just about as weird as it sounds, but Robert has great wrists.

Bloodletting is rabid, frantic, painful and sexy. There's only nine shows left before the experimental run ends November 2nd; not this Sunday, but the next one.

Also worth mentioning: the performance started and ended with the team of five in only their underthings. So worth it.

"Bloodletting" is a frank exploration of anger in all its bodily forms. The narrative on Thursday night was framed by Kate Hilliard's screed on HIV, at once an expression of anger and a very-purposeful provocation of it. By subtly appropriating infection as the vector of anger, Kate established a device from which I began to understand the bodies of the interpreters as they were wracked repeatedly by a coughing that marked the transformative power of deep emotion: lust became anger; envy became anger; laughter became anger; performance became anger; meeting an old friend at a party became anger.

The troupe repeatedly engaged the audience directly: I was yelled at, implored, questioned, and frequently drawn into the improvised dialogue. Like what goes on in the back seat, it's writhing, slightly uncomfortable fun.

The Dancemakers are Robert Abubo, Kate Hilliard, Kate Holden, Benjamin Kamino, and Steeve Paquet (yep, three ees, he's Quebecois) . Next in line for artistic director Michael Trent's 08/09 season is Sasha Ivanochko's solo performance piece, "The future memory heartbreak junction", coming in December.

Remaining dates for "Bloodletting and other pleasant things" are:

October 24, 25 and October 28-November 1 @ 8pm
October 26 and November 2 @ 4pm


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