In the final image of 605 Collective’s The Inheritor Album the six performers dance together in a tight clump at the centre of the stage. Bands of light rapidly roll down the stage, illuminating them and then sending them into shadows. One by one the dancers break from the group until only a single dancer is dancing. Only then do you realize that the shadows of the other dancers are left onstage. The dancer is alone, but still dancing with her community.
Communities both temporal and physical are the concern of The Inheritor Album. To create this piece the 605 Collective began with the word ‘inheritor’ and the intention to explore the meaning of the word. The images created are deeply affecting. In the opening sequence the dancers run in a circle on the floor pushing and pulling, urging each other onwards. They form long connected chains of bodies supporting each other in movement, echoing and letting the movement ripple through their bodies. Later, they attach themselves to dancer and co-choreographer Josh Martin. He carries them across the stage as they slowly detach and fall to the floor.
Surrounding these extraordinary images is dense and physically challenging choreography. The 605 Collective is extraordinarily strong. Their movement is lightening quick, flipping from the floor to standing and whipping across the stage. There’s a coiled energy to the way they move, a sense that no matter how extraordinary the movement is they have never expended themselves fully, there is always something in reserve. It is a testament to the skills of the three co-choreographers Lisa Gelley, Shay Kuebler and Josh Martin that they do not rely solely on the pyrotechnic capabilities of their collective but rather use their extraordinary movement to move in and out of simple but deeply affecting images.
The movement is accompanied by an electronic score created by Kristen Roos that carefully supports and enhances the images being created on stage. The score is perfectly subtle, always complimenting the images created and never distracting from the creation onstage.
The final element in the 605 Collective’s collaboration is extraordinary lighting by Jason Dubois and animation from Miwa Matreyek. Dubois and Matreyek’s work cannot be separated from each other. Her animation is interactive, not just throwing additional images on the back wall to support the collective’s themes, as often is the case with projections in dance. The animations create a track on which the dancers run, trees and cracks where the dancers step on the floor. In one piece a dancer begins dancing at one side of the stage as wavering lines cross the floor. As she dances the waving lines fill the space pushing back and into an ever-smaller dance area. Dubois carefully balances the light keeping the stage just dark enough that the animation can be seen and just light enough that the faces of the dancers can be seen in the intimate space of the Timms Centre.
The Inheritor Album is an extraordinary experience. All the elements of the performance come together to create a deeply moving space where time is suspended. Nothing is static. The Inheritor Album can take you from being overwhelmed by the sense of community created on stage to awe at the dancer’s physicality to mourning. The performance goes beyond the emotion. In the talkback afterwards Josh Martin described the show as a meditation on ‘what we’ve been given and what we want to give’. In the lobby afterwards I heard several different conversations on what that meant. Twelve hours later as I’m finishing this review I’m still turning over the possibilities and wondering at this performance.
The Inheritor Album works on all levels to deliver a complete performance that is visually arresting, emotionally moving and intellectually stimulating. It was a performance not to be missed.
The Inheritor Album was performed October 5 & 6 at the Timms Centre for the Arts.