Peterbrough Examiner
Friday, April 3, 2009

Something for everyone with Emergency 17

If you live in Peterborough and haven't attended Emergency in the last sixteen years then consider it an emergency and get yourself there.

Now it isn't a 911 emergency but it's urgent. It's a festival of new dance brought to you by our own Peterborough New Dance and Public Energy at the Market Hall Performing Arts Center.

Specifically, it's an annual festival of new performance by Peterborough artists that showcases emerging artists as well as veterans to the city's stage, which has hosted artists who have since gone on to new heights in Toronto, across Canada, New York and beyond. If you want to say that you were there when, then this festival is for you and it is currently celebrating its 17th year of presenting emerging artists right here in Peterborough.

Last night this reviewer had the pleasure of taking in program A, one of two programs of which the festival is comprised, and there are still opportunities to see both programs along with a couple of bonus additions this year, including a dance film component and an indigenous performance Initiative in association with the Indigenous Studies Department at Trent University.

The Trent Dance Team, ("All I Need" and "Midnight Circus") brought it in both numbers with big numbers, meaning lots of dancers, on stage, with smiling faces, whipping hair and moves to showcase this group that was formed for students to share and express their love of dance.

Allyson Booth, ("Deconstructing Tap" and also "Reconstructing Tap") went on to impress the audience while she deconstructed and reconstructed tap in solo to live accompaniment in each piece of piano and then violin.

Hilary Wear's simple and athletic representation of female and aquatic themes also resonated through brave use of vocals and breath in "Seal Woman Moves: Early Choices."

In "Binary,"Wayne Elliott risked placing himself beside the ever attention-sucking television screen and compelled its personification through repetitive movement in response to its images and industrial chanting sounds.

"Tonight Tonight Won't Be Just Any Night," (Deb Reynolds) was a fun clown piece involving audience participation that had all the single guys on edge and Bye was an earnest exploration piece choreographed by Wes Ryan and performed solo by Sophia Darling with a live band accompaniment.

The highlight of Program A was "The Spirit," in which Emma Lu Romerein shares her experience of healing after an automobile accident which snapped her arm in half, (not that you'd know it.) Her West-meets-East choreography transcended layers of atmospheric soundscapes in turn, matching base-line rhythms and transitioning to melodic details with a machine-like precision in sure-footed form.

All in all, a mixed bag but something for everyone. Check it out.