Reviews - Fringe 2015

Fringe 2015 Review: Form and Fixation

By Paige Louter
Published July 24, 2015

Form and Fixation consists of two distinct dance/movement pieces ("Reverie" and "Blue(dot)Political"), both of which are too abstract and take themselves too seriously to really connect with the audience.

While the dancers are capable, Lisa Emmons and Mayumi Lashbrook in particular, their performances are not grounded in a deeper emotional understanding of what they are doing. This could have been a helpful entry-point for the audience to understand the fractured "Reverie", and to buy into the narrative of "Blue(dot)Political". Technical proficiency is always less important than the ability to communicate clearly.

This collective of creators has a lot to say, but the expression of their ideas is fractured and opaque. James Farrington gives a dramaturgical introduction to each piece; these introductions unfortunately presuppose a clarity and emotional impact that isn't delivered in the performances themselves.

The second piece in particular suffers from a mismatch of description and reality, as Farrington praises the collaborative work of the various designers and creators, but the performance demonstrates an overabundance of competing ideas.

There is too much pre-recorded text, too many disparate symbols, and too many costume changes, especially when the costumes themselves, though visually interesting, force the dancers to pause and fiddle with zippers and buttons.

Although this is a minor fault compared to the larger structural and storytelling issues, "If I Had a Heart" is a particularly bad choice of music for a show like this: the theme song for a TV show already comes with visual and emotional associations, and is guaranteed to distract anyone who recognizes it.

Form Contemporary Dance Theatre obviously has ambition and a great deal of creative energy, but they desperately need a strong editorial eye to rein in their tendency to overcomplicate and obscure their art.

Paige Louter is a recent graduate of Redeemer University College, where she received a BA in Theatre and Writing. In the fall, she is heading to the National University of Ireland to pursue an MA in Theatre.


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By Mateo (anonymous) | Posted July 25, 2015 at 21:36:01

Dear Paige,

It is very interesting how a theatre person judges a dance work from a linear storytelling perspective. And it's funny, you mention if I had a heart and not Mozart? I think you missed the overused music choice. I have not seen the TV show but I'm not surprised it is used somewhere else, indeed it's a great track.

Just to inform you, within the process we invited multiple prfesional outside eyes that helped us find the artistic intention of the work. They had the understanding that the work doesn't intend to tell a story but create imagery and a feeling. We acknowledge there is still tons of work to do, but we've had professional artist look at the work and give their input. Maybe those artist don't have a "strong editorial eye" to your eye.

When you talk about technical proficiency, what do you mean? What technique are you talking about? Do you have any knowledge about dance technique? Please explain.

I believe you need to watch more dance works and develop a frame of reference outside of the theatre world. Form and fixation is not a musical, it's not a play. And from your lack of reference I believe your comments are very ill informed. If you look at Francis Bacon expecting to see a Davinci, well you're going to be very disappointed.

Mateo Galindo Torres

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