After two years of postponement and cancellation, star dancer Guillaume Côté was finally able to present his piece cryptocurrencies last night at the Théâtre Maisonneuve. Dreamy universe and neoclassical gestures make up this danced fable that is innovative in the field of scenography, but remains classical in form.
Quebec dancer and choreographer Guillaume Côté was inspired by cryptozoology, the study of animals whose existence has not been proven, to build his work cryptocurrencies† We understand very quickly thanks to the words spoken in the background, taken from the story of the author Royce Vavrek, written at the request of Mr. Côté. With its two elements, cryptocurrencies is then intended as a highly narrative work, with a clear thread, worthy of a fable. A couple goes in search of a creature, which the man constantly dreams of, who will solve all their problems. Once found, they try in vain to domesticate it. Then comes the time to transform her into a more human being. The story very quickly reminds us of King Kong or Frankenstein’s monster. The choreographer then wonders what man’s need is to control the nature and sometimes fatal outcome of such behaviour. We follow the four main protagonists (the couple, the beast and the surgeon) in this fantastic story, which does not reinvent the genre, but is easy to follow. In reality, cryptocurrencies does not try to cover the tracks or deepen the subject. It’s just meant to tell a story, while you dance.
As for the scenography, nothing to complain about. The choreographer wanted to focus on innovation and that is what happens with the work of the Montreal company Mirari. Very elaborate lighting effects and realistic and immersive projections immerse us in the dream and allow us to really follow the story unfolding before our eyes. We discover an enchanted forest, a whirlwind of doors, a hidden city, the statues parade and tell the story. The light also emphasizes the bodies drawn and shaped by the identity of the characters. The podium is divided into several sections to highlight a dominant and then a dominated. We also create a realistic surgery scene thanks to these luminescent effects that bring out the raw side of the moment while keeping sparkles and color details in poetry and fable.
The movement for the movement
The four performers of the play, Greta Hodgkinson, Natasha Poon Woo, Casia Vengoechera and Guillaume Côté herself, come and go in the scenes, wandering around with their specific gestures. We will also emphasize here the interesting search for movements, which nevertheless often flirts with the beautiful lines of classical ballet. An artistic choice that mainly appeals to the general public, since of course technique and virtuosity are central.
The pair, played by Mr. Côté and Mrs. Hodgkinson, merge into his lines. The elevators are soft, the moments of unison, few in number, impeccable. We find in them the spirit of classical ballet, yet mixed with more contemporary techniques, such as more pronounced angles in the arms in particular or even more jerky gestures. Despite certain differences of opinion understood by bodily opposites, we understand that the couple is one, that the two are a couple, and that love unites the harmony of their bodies.
Natasha Poon Woo who plays the surgeon and Casia Vengoechea who plays the creature both come to break neoclassicism even further. Indeed, each with their signature, they reveal highly structured, highly controlled steps and a danced vocabulary that enriches the piece. We follow their different emotions about their body states in an accurate theatrical interpretation. Mrs. Vengoechea miraculously interprets the animality of the body and all these geometric possibilities, bordering on the contortionist. Mrs. Poon Woo inspires with her military precision and her smooth release. A nice combination of entities that demonstrates real research work.
Overall, cryptocurrencies pours out many gestures and diversified movements, certainly justified by the story, but sometimes breathless. The bodies stop little and dance a lot, for no apparent reason. However, does the movement necessarily need meaning and can’t it just be there, to be loved for what it is and not for what it tries to represent?