“Not Quite Midnight”: a “Cinderella” not clocked

«Not Quite Midnight»: un «Cendrillon» au pas cadencé

Photo: Claudia Chan Tak
The cruel mother-in-law and half-sisters are embodied by three dancers bare-chested and with long skirts.

After revisiting, in the past, the world of Little red riding hood and Blue Beard, Hélène Blackburn continues in the same line drawing, this time, multiple versions, and musical adaptations of the fairy tale of Cinderella to create a composite part. Rather than sticking closely to the narrative thread of the story banal and known by heart, Not Quite Midnight relies almost exclusively on the evocative power of dance to highlight the spirit of resistance and resilience of Cinderella.

Instead of opting for the sets and costumes fairy as it would in classical ballet, the choreographer put on a great sobriety and portrays his characters in a steam atmosphere dominated by the black color and elegant lines. The space is energized by the play of light and numerous jets of smoke. A way to make the border of the show for young audiences more porous to reach also the adults, but at the risk of being too stingy with fantasy to capture fully the child that remains in us. A few doll’s houses to design, pure and bird-mechanical provide, however, a touch of magic on the plateau. Elements that could be exploited more by the performers and the dozen kids invited to stay on stage near the heat of the action.

From noon to midnight, a count takes place. At the first stroke of the clock, we are given to see the image of a small Cinderella modern has traded her slippers of glass for sneakers. On stage, the performers, in unison, flipping between a circle of light to another. On tips, in heels or barefoot, the movements of the dancers and a blend of flexible figures of ballet of hand gestures lively and expressive from to fit the faces.

A large screen in the back of the stage allows you to give spatio-temporal reference points so that we can find in the timeline of the story and recognize the characters. Because the six performers of them switch roles regardless of the gender. Thus, the figure of Cinderella appears as well under the guise of a duo of women than a solo man. As for the cruel step-mother and half-sisters, they are embodied by three dancers bare-chested and with long skirts. This process complicates the reading of the piece, but helps you deal effectively with the stereotypes attached to the characters, male and female.

There is in the piece a part of the unforeseen assumed, the interpreters are looking for throughout the show to integrate the children to their partitions. The initiative has been in places laborious during the morning at school, which we attended. Would this be because of the solos, pas de deux and unite, strung together too fast pace until the conclusion steep ? The partition seems to be too tight at the level of rhythm to encourage children to take part fully in what is occurring on stage. And the virtuosity of the dancers does eclipse not enough to allow them to real interactions. There is a balance still to be found in this Cinderella comes to not race, to integrate more smoothly with the small spectators.

Not Quite Midnight

Choreographed by Helene Blackburn (Cas Public). With Alexander Ellison, Cai Glover, Robert Guy, Daphnée Laurendeau, Carson McDougall and Danny Morissette. Presented by Agora de la danse, until 9 April at the Building Wilder – Espace danse.


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