December 14, 2000


Du Maurier Theatre, Harbourfront Centre

Toronto, Canada

December 14?16, 2000

Reviewed by Lewis Hertzman

Corpus, a three-year veteran of Toronto’s independent dance scene, is an innovative hybrid of dance, mime and clowning skills, improvisation, and clever Gallic comedy. An evening with the group is like enjoying a visit with Jacques Tati, Marcel Marceau, or even Monty Python. Starting from some basic premise, a piece develops to a point ranging from genial hilarity to manic absurdity. This program, under the auspices of DanceWorks, reprised works choreographed by Sylvie Bouchard and David Danzon, who also performed.

A Flock of Flyers was a particularly funny spoof of military discipline and values, as officer Danzon bilingually drilled his “Ontario Squadron” of aircraft-bereft airmen. Flapping arms, twisted salutes, and fanciful formations suggested a boot camp unlike any other.

Flyers blended seamlessly into Carousel, the second dance of the evening, in which a brightly-colored umbrella fell from the sky and three equally colorfully costumed women with parasols pranced onstage. The flying drill sergeant in black bodysuit stayed on to admire and pursue them, as the music shifted from military march to the lilt of bal-musette accordion. The scene was a gentle reminder of nineteenth and twentieth turn-of-century France or French Canada, until the flyers returned to round things off.

The program closer, Rendez-vous, was an odd assembly of twins whose main activity was to hang out. Four men and four women became aware of each other in changing combinations on, in, and around a set of stairs. Absurdist and inconclusive, nothing lasted nor seemed to progress anywhere. As with the theater of Samuel Beckett or Eugene Ionesco, of course, that was the intention of the choreography. It was interesting, entertaining, and simply suggestive of life’s casual encounters.