Friday, April 17, 2015

Margin Notes: Sequence 8

Alexandra Royer. Photo by Lionel Montagnier.
Sequence 8
Seen on: Thursday, 4/16/15.
My grade: A. Wonderful, thrilling work.

Plot and Background
A combination of acrobatics, modern dance, meta commentary, absurd sketch, juggling, and anything else you can think to throw in, acts segueing seamlessly (but for applause breaks) into each other. Sequence 8 originally premiered in Lyon, France in 2012, and has performed in 15 other countries. This performance is part of its US tour. The company, Les 7 Doigts de la Main, is a Montreal-based group founded in 2002 whose "initial goal was to restore a human scale to the circus."

What I Knew Beforehand
I'd seen 7 Fingers's last New York offering, Traces, at the Union Square Theatre in 2011, and loved it. (And of course I'd seen the recent Pippin revival on Broadway, which boasted acrobatic choreography by Gypsy Snider, one of the company's founding members, as well as several performers from the company)


Play: As evidenced in my review of 2011's Traces (linked above), I struggle to find a concise way to describe just what makes 7 Fingers's work special. Maybe it's related to how often they address each other by name, the feeling that there is something personal happening for each of them on the stage. Maybe it's the beautifully kept balance between the eight performers who seem to breathe as one, and the sense of spontaneity to their play. This is the first time they're doing this; they've been doing this all their lives. And because there's such a good tonal balance, the transitions between the acrobatic stunts, the group dances, the "interviews," the pantomimes, the spectacular moments are truly spectacular, gasp-worthy, the absurd moments whimsical and sweet and funny. You feel like you're watching something truly special, something unusual and not to be seen again. Standouts include (god, how do I choose?) Eric Bates's cigar box juggling, a whimsical defiance of gravity and other laws of physics; Alexandra Royer's hanging hoop dance, where she ran without touching the ground; and Devin Henderson's frankly terrifying sliding up and down the Chinese pole.


Running: Now playing at New York City Center (Les 7 doigts de la main) - Opening: April 16, 2015. Closing: April 26, 2015
Category: dance/acrobatics
Length: 1 hour, 30 minutes, no intermission.

Creative Team

Directors & Choreographers: Shana Carroll and Sebastien Soldevila
Designers:  Anne-Seguin Poirier (Set & Prop), Manon Desmarais (Costume), Nol Van Genuchten (Lighting), Sebastien Soldevila (Acrobatic Designer), Alexandre Lemay (Acrobatic Equipment), Seth Stachowski and Nans Bortuzzo (Original Music).
Cast: Eric Bates, Ugo Dario, Colin Davis, Devin Henderson, Maxim Laurin, Camille Legris, Tristan Nielsen, Alexandra Royer, Tom Ammirati, Guillaume Biron.
Devin Henderson. Photo by Lionel
Eric Bates. Photo by Sylvie-Ann Pare.

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