Misfit Blues

Misfit BluesChoreographed by Paul-André Fortier, Danced by Paul and Robin Poitras, this gentle and engaging work, at different times lyric, abstract, and narrative, was presented by Winnipeg Contemporary Dancers in Winnipeg last week. This playful dance inspired some new poems for my manuscript called Music for Men Over Fifty, Songs of Love (and Surgery). Anyone in a long-term relationship will appreciate the ground they cover. In this case a large white circle, and while there was snow on the ground there was fire in their hearts and (with encouragement) other parts.

Gestures matter, and there are many in this dance4, some of them striking for their psychological realism. I was particularly moved by the scene were each takes the facial features, the senses really, from the other and placing them in a shopping bag (Hallmak on opening night) which Paul put over his head, followed by his glasses. Funny haha for sure, but there’s a whole lot of thinking going on.

When you have a bench crafted by Edward Poitras (who supplied other set elements including a watching coyote), you expect the two to sit on it, and Paul and Robin do. What they do on the bench and with the bench is laugh out loud funny. Yes, getting older isn’t always easy, and balancing references to dementia aside, there are moments of tenderness, pleasure, exuberance, and laughter to appreciate.

The two seasoned veterans speak in a made up language, but communicate with us easily, demonstrating how much tone and body language matters in personal communications. The music by Alexander MacSween is notable for its correspondence to what the dancers do and I appreciated the additional aural texture it provided, as I like listening as well as watching.

The tour of Misfit Blues, ends up in Regina next week, and it’s a show to see. There is more information on the NDH Website.

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