“Crypto” by Côté Danse, presented at Théâtre Maisonneuve on Place des Arts – Urban Bible

Photo credit: Karolina Kuras

USAOn May 11, after two years of waiting due to numerous postponements and cancellations, I was finally able to attend the long-awaited performance of the work “Crypto”, a creation of the internationally renowned Quebec dancer Guillaume Côté. This show, which was presented until May 14, was able to come to life on the stage of the Théâtre Maisonneuve on the Place des Arts. This innovative work, unique to say the least, told in the form of a fable, turns out to be a collaborative work comprising visual effects, narration, theatre, music and dance.

Guillaume Côté was inspired by cryptozoology (the science of these so-called “hidden” animals that have not yet been discovered by official zoology) to offer us a work whose dreamlike vision is carried by a quartet of dancers. The latter embodied several characters: Greta Hodgkindon (the woman), Natasha Poon Woo (the surgeon), Casia Vengoechea (the animal), and Guillaume (the man).

With the intriguing music of composer Mikael Karlsson and the contribution of visual effects created by the Hub Studio, based on a story written by Royce Vavrek, the audience at Place des Arts was invited to discover a story in the style of Modern Prometheus: I saw there a strong will of man, that of transforming the beauty of nature into a human form, but without thinking about the repercussions that this may entail…

A red thread unfortunately absent

The show started with a solo performed by Guillaume Côté, followed by a pas de deux between the characters of the man and from womanwith a narrative background, expressed by a carrier voice whose words evoked a quest, namely that of beauty and monstrosity.

The scenography, composed of lighting effects and projections, depicted a forest inhabited by various animals. I was delighted to decipher at this precise moment a neat choreographic language in which the dancers’ movements were fluid and very well executed.

However, I found that the dark play of the light and the equally dark costumes did not allow the spectators to admire all the movements, especially the jumps and pirouettes of the dancer Guillaume Côté, which is a shame.

The show continued with visually interesting projections to the eye. Among other things, I could appreciate a beautiful visual effect illustrated in the form of a tunnel. The latter served to stimulate the journey of the dancer, who then entered a magical world, to meet a needy animal (embodied by the dancer Casia Vengoechea), who wore a unitard with brown lines, which gave her some camouflage.

For a moment I almost felt like I was watching an animated film; it was a very successful visual effect!

“Crypto” by Côté Danse. Photo: Karolina Kuras

Up to this painting I have to admit that the common thread linking the narration, the scenography and the dance formed a coherent and harmonious whole. Except, very quickly, the showings stopped, the narrative frame disappeared to only reappear at the end of the show, and the choreographic writing showed several rehearsals that I could have done without.

After reflection, during this scene, I thought I understood that the animal in question had been captured and then transformed into a human being. But personally I had already lost the link, however weak, between dance and history…

And I admit I was destabilized by this narrative rift that made me lose track of the story!

Breathless and sometimes destabilizing gestures

We also found at one point in the story the surgeon’s character who turns the animal into a human being played by dancer Natasha Poon Woo. The latter, I must admit, was able to deliver a dynamic feat of undeniable engineering!

As for Casia Vengoechea’s interpretation, it has undoubtedly destabilized the public with her interpretation, as we could see her body taking on almost inhuman shapes! While these moves are an integral part of the show, I kept wondering how relevant it is to take the interpretation so far as to create such unnatural shapes for a human body…

This choreography, I admit, even made me forget the neoclassical and contemporary dance forms that I got to see throughout the performance!

A creation to say the least!

While some moves deserved to be redesigned, the power of cryptocurrenciesis in my opinion in the dance itself, namely the interpretation and execution of the movements by four artists who knew to perform brilliant on show.

I salute the initiative of Guillaume Côté, who, despite some disappointments, offered us a unique (and different!) work that will open the door to new creations and equally daring artistic reflections, I am sure.

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