Thursday, January 22, 2015

Review    Waiting Rooms in Heaven

by Jared Tobias Herring
For those looking for something to do this weekend,
Look no further than “Waiting Rooms in Heaven,”
W&M Physical Theater’s latest creation.
In this piece, Artistic Directors and Choreographers Wojciech Mochniej & Melissa Monteros offer a sense of total theatre in their combination of live music, dance, spoken text and video projection.Do something different, witness and support what YYC is producing!
Where: University Theatre
Show times:
Thursday, Jan 22, 2015 @8pm
Friday, Jan 23, 2015 @8pm
Saturday, Jan 24, 2015 @8pm

Tickets: $15 Adult – $10 Students/Seniors(FREE for UofC Students who show their ID).Facebook Event: https://www.facebook.com/events/571507086314604/

Entering the theater, you can expect to see roughly 27, pristine white chairs
populating the dance floor within a white square.
In the darkened upstage, black stairs lead to mysterious black door.
The set is truly a feast for your eyes. However,
the moment the house lights dim – initiating showtime
the stage becomes a living organism.
The darkness is filled with faint movements.
Dim lighting bathes the floor and its dancers in mosaic designs;
performers mold with the shadows, entering and exiting
like ghosts shifting in a misty graveyard.
The chairs act as the central prop for this piece; they are slid, shifted,
sat in, balanced on and thrown – causing a constant reconfiguration of the space.
The utilization of the props is both subtle and intentional.
Similar to how lungs take in and expel air automatically,
so too does the set design transform seamlessly, often by surprise.
I must admit that the rebel in me
finds something so satisfying in watching the clean, perfect chairs
being tossed carelessly into a pile.
Interestingly, Monteros shares in the choreographer’s note:We began this work inspired by a simple image: a huge
pile of chairs in a warehouse lot by our studio.
                        Wojciech told me, “that’s the set for our new work.”
The choreography is exquisite and ambitious. Movement is dynamic, detailed
and awe inspiring in its fluidity – no effort is wasted in the transfer of energy.
Dancers skillfully command the stage with confidence,
showcasing delicious long lines, sophisticated partnering,
and emotional intensity.There is a tenderness among the connections that, in combination
with the heaviness of mood, lead me to contemplation.In short: I am reminded of my mortality; invited too, to reflect upon
the choices I have made in my life and the journey I currently embark on.A delightful and inspiring performance for all ages to enjoy.



Just about to head back into rehearsals for WRinHeaven.  So looking forward to it!

In the meantime, West Side Story is into rehearsals on the stage and lighting begins tomorrow.

Wojtek has his head down, working on sound, video and reviewing rehearsal videos.

Happy New Year!


A busy week! Last Saturday we launched into Pro Series rehearsals; Sunday, we had another performance of Inventories of Bodies. That same evening, James Graham arrived. Wednesday, Sasha Ivanochko returned to Montreal; tonight, we offer the first Gaga class in Calgary with James Graham…
Never a dull moment! Hope you all enjoy the class!

SASHA IVANOCHKO guest teaches for SURGE CO

The Surge Company had the great pleasure of working with renowned Canadian dance artist Sasha Ivanochko this past Monday.

Ms. Ivanochko spent 3 hours with the pre-professional company and helped move them forward in their aspirations to develop as dance artists.

Grateful for the opportunity, their responses were beyond enthusiastic!

Watch for the new Surge Co Members!

W&M have just completed the final auditions for the SURGE Company.

Returning dancers Emily Henley, Quinn Kliewer, Tessa Mark and Kate Van Kruyssen

will be joined this year by new members

Christah Ah, Corynne Bison, Cindy Chen, Alexandra Hay, Brittany Maddox, and Karen Viera de la Torre



“Inventories of Bodies in Movement: Dance is a Weapon”
Sunday September 7th 5pm at ContainR
Tuesday September 9th 5pm at the University of Calgary outside the Taylor Digital Library

This has been a collaborative project between the Division of Dance and W&M Dance Projects of Calgary. It was offered as a Block Course (5 days) at the University of Calgary.

More detailed course/performance information:

Inventories of Bodies in Movement is an interactive dance project that speaks to the identity of one’s self and to the cultural and social constructs that define how a universal subject (i.e., the body) is perceived in our modern, multi-cultural society. Inventories of Bodies in Movement is a humanist project that focuses on the values and concerns between people of different backgrounds, cultural groups, and experiences in life, and the similarities and differences in their perceptions of the body. The goal of the project is to explore and address the body as “self,” as social and cultural construct, as a vessel for personal history. The project seeks to bring, through the beauty of the movement arts, awareness of the ideas we hold both commonly and differently. Through this process we will engage in the search for a commonality of understanding of our society, and an acknowledgement of the differences.

Mochniej and Fricker bring together people of different ages, social classes, cultures, and body types in a celebration of these differences. This project’s ambition is to reveal commonalities and impart understanding of our differences by exposing, exploring, and sharing our perceptions of the body.
The theme of Inventories of Bodies in Movement is Dance is a Weapon.
Dance is a Weapon is the slogan of the New Dance Group, created in 1931 in the US and close to the American far-left. These dancers and choreographers have shown that dance is not only part of the entertainment industry or an aesthetic, but it can also be an ideological vector, a form of social struggle in the fight helping minority groups.

Through the direction Fricker and Mochniej , each performer has explored and created movement utilizing various stimuli (visual, tactile, sound, text, literal) to create their own movement score and the discovery of a ‘body story’ or ‘body song’. The rehearsal process attempts to allow the creation of movement that is closely related to each participant’s story and imagination. As cultural ideas around the body and beauty are profoundly different between culture, social class and age group, we feel that the integration of
differing types of participants in this piece allows a rich exploration of the subject matter.

Audience members are invited to let their gaze wander and create their own point of view. One can be moved by an everyday gesture, or empathize with a corporal signature; in any case one can return to the essence of the body as a medium. By discovering the untrained mover, the recreational mover, as well as professional dancers, audience members can recognize aspects of themselves in these dancing bodies. Much like the process that happens during the workshop/rehearsals of the piece, when presented to the public it is meant to make the audience explore and investigate their own notions of “the body” and how the constructs of culture and social norms influence their perceptions.



Sternberg’s triangular theory of love is typically the first thing you think of when the namesake of this play comes to mind. Intimacy, Passion, Decision, all three separate but inextricably linked together geometrically.
High Performance Rodeo’s new production, “Triangular Theories of Love,” is the antithesis of this perfect articulation. Put on by W&M Physical Theatre troupe and Calgary’s own Poet Laureate, Kris Demeanor, “Theories” is a pastiche of fluid dance and words telling the story of couples in love and their struggles in long-term relationships.

As a tongue-in-cheek remix of the original triangle theory, this energetic theatre production incorporates dancers as players in the love lives of several couples, all dancing out their raw passions, sadness, irritations and euphoria. W&M’s theatre persona relies upon contrasting elements of raw bodily movements with stylistic details, details that are woven through drama and narrative.
“Theories” is gripping and sensuous as W&M’s founders/choreographers Melissa Monteros and Wojciech Mochniej create a dynamic space of dance interpreting circumstances of love. Demeanor’s ideas, mixed and characterized with Monteros’ and Mochniej’s dance experience, bring in an audience by translating would-be speech into a more physical space, a space where words are punctuated by simple movement. “Theories” in its concept is not just a show about “relationships”: it is an eloquent display of how the body transforms complex and simple understandings of emotion into spectacle and, in this case, raw beauty. It takes a commonplace experience of relationships, or ‘going through the motions’ and transforms it into a grand story.

Jan. 29-31. Pumphouse Theatre. Presented by W&M Physical Theatre.

By Therese Schultz
Photo: Aaron McCullough