Pulse: Funky Brewster Cauling

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      A Scotiabank Dance Centre presentation. At the Scotiabank Dance Centre on Friday, April 27,No remaining performances

      Funky Brewster Cauling is the pseudonym for the trio of Amber Funk Barton, Sarah Brewer, and Cori Caulfield. The name's cute, but in their mostly solid mixed bill they gave new meaning to the term girl power.

      Opening the program was Lina Fitzner's Six for Three, which the emerging local choreographer said in program notes was inspired simply by the power of her dancers. The three couldn't be more different: the spiky-haired Funk is compact and fiercely energetic; redheaded Brewer is muscular, her movement refined; and Caulfield, a blond, is tall and lean and loads even the tiniest gestures with meaning. But they do have extreme talent in common, and in Fitzner's dynamic piece they all displayed their technical aplomb.

      Set to a funky, rhythmically addictive score by Vancouver's Jacob Cino, Six for Three was choreographically diverse, showing off the dancers' versatility. Fitzner created moves inspired by everything from yoga to contact improvisation, all encased in classical ballet's clean lines.

      The remaining half of the show featured solos that Brewer, Funk, and Caulfield created and performed. Brewer's Facets of Li was a coming-of-age tale, a journey from girl to woman, beginner dancer to master artist. Brewer is indeed a maven, having spent more than two decades teaching, performing, and choreographing. She morphed from a gawky child with a pair of leotards on her head to a mature artist who's realized her potential and steps with confidence, joy, and abandon. She used a beautiful selection of music, including unnamed titles by J.S. Bach and Arvo Pí¤rt, which perfectly matched her intricate and inventive footwork. She also included video images of the ocean and clouds projected on a huge screen at the back of the stage and set to an overly quick narration of excerpts from the I Ching, but it was her inspiring vocabulary and not the life-affirming visuals that was most affecting.

      Funk Barton certainly delivered the theme in her solo, lost. Shifting directions and seeming confused, she conveyed that feeling of being rudderless. But subtlety is not her thing, and her solo was far more compelling when she eventually propelled herself around the stage with the energy of a cyclone. Her coughing scene was dramatically weak, but once she focused again on her movement, whipsawing her arms around her, she had us under her spell.

      Caulfield's Coming to Home, set to music by fiddler Oliver Schroer, was a departure for the head of Coriograph Theatre. In the past she has created character studies that are as unforgettable for her acting as they are for her striking movement. Here, she stripped down her aesthetic to pure dance, and the result was no less satisfying. Spectacular is not too strong a word to describe Caulfield on-stage. She can isolate her joints and fragment her motions to captivating effect. Even the way she curls her fingers, rotates her shoulders, or tilts her head is compelling; she's simply one of those dancers you can't take your eyes off.

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