Wen Wei Dance
Dialogue opens with just enough lighting to see six male dancers sitting at the back of the Scotiabank Dance Centre’s stage facing the audience. In the dimly lit theater they are sitting uncomfortably with each other, silent and postured in the masculinity and tension of young men unsure of themselves. Each from different cultural backgrounds, skin colour, and language, embodying Canada’s multiculturalism. They are dressed in black, ranging in size from slight to brutish, all in the beautiful bodies of dancers.
Communication and the human need to connect inspire Dialogue, by acclaimed Vancouver choreographer Wen Wei Wang. In this work he finds a masterful way to express individuality, cultural difference and sexual orientation as the tension of the first moments of the performance begin. I am reminded of my youth, my insecurities, and of a primal need to compete with the pack.
If what we normally see is dance through a western lens according to Peter Dickinson, Wen Wei Wang is careful to allow each dancer their individuality with themes of ancient classicism woven into modern dance and self-expression. Throughout the seventy-five minute production the dancers; Ralph Escamillian, Andrew Haydock, Arash Khakpour, Tyler Layton-Olson, Nicholas Lydiate and Alex Tam find their own rhythms, form, shape, and movement in their own unique way. There is a vulnerability in each, a tenderness and rage as they put words and feelings to their movement and expression in their moments of aloneness and togetherness.
There are some lighter moments in this production that helps to relieve the emotional tension felt throughout this production and while likely not what the dancers were trained to do, it allowed the audience to breathe. The complexities of the performance are tied together beautifully as Wen Wei Wang captures the heart and soul of the dancers and a very human story with careful attention to every detail and nuance including the music and environment. Dialogue is more than dance, and not to be missed.