DJD’s latest offering is riveting
Mimic – A strange and delightful journey
DJD’s newest show ‘Mimic’ is a darkly humorous journey into humanity’s relentless transition, co-created by the company’s artistic director, Kimberly Cooper, and Old Trout puppet master, Peter Balkwell.
In the first act, they take us through a landscape that descends from celebratory tribalism into menace and savagery; in the second act, they slip from sophistication into debauchery, regressing into savagery, before looping back to simplicity. Simple props and costumes help create the atmosphere. In the first act, the dancers’ costumes are basic black with t shirts emblazoned with geometric white patterns. In the second act, the costumes are a colourful pastiche of vaudevillian style.
The nine DJD dancers move with intense energetic purpose to the soundscape created by a trio of musicians on a raised stage behind them who play an array of percussion instruments, and coax the occasional whine out of a kazoo. Their deeply layered sound sets the tone and texture for the strange journey we are on.
Cooper knows her dancers, and with her abundant skill and style, she shapes the choreography to their abilities.
And what ability they have.
These dancers have talent in spades. The intimacy of the theatre in the DJD Dance Centre brings an exciting immediacy to the energy of their movement. The dancers are as theatrically versatile as they are athletic. They sashay and stomp, seduce and threaten, tease and preen, moving seamlessly from playful and funny to fluid and sensuous to wild and spectacular.
In both acts, the set contains a large swath of fabric that is used to imaginative effect. When placed on a table or draped over the dancers’ bodies, the fabric creates two planes of motion that simultaneously engage the audience. In the first act, dark cloth acts as earth and landscape; in the second act, ruby red fabric morphs from a sumptuous robe into a table cloth; and in one scene, the fabric acts as a screen through which we watch a dreamy sequence where the dancers are back-lit and stretched larger-than-life.
Although thematically, the second act felt somewhat choppy on opening night, the verve of the dancers, the boldness of the creators’ vision, the textural soundscape, and the dynamic set make this a show you’ll want to see.
I was riveted, as was the rest of the audience judging by the standing ovation the company received on opening night.
April 19 – May 5, 2018
DJD Dance Centre (111-12 Avenue SE, Calgary)