New dance sprouts at The Dance Centre's 12 Minutes Max showing

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      The Dance Centre’s 12 Minutes Max featured four works-in-progress for the season’s final studio showing April 19.

      Dancers-choreographers Bevin Poole, Ahalya Satkunaratnam, Clare Twiddy, and creative partners Akeisha de Baat and Nathan Todd, all shared beginnings of larger explorations—of the 12-minute variety.

      Poole’s near-stationary solo stood out for its striking imagery. Dressed in a long beige coat, black turtleneck dress and loafers, the tall and casual Poole began by walking forward precariously—as though parting thick air with calculated steps. Poole continued at this unhurried, yet at times, tension-filled pace, through shifting vignettes suggestive of Edward Gorey’s art. Curator Kathryn Ricketts shared this particular visual reference in her preshow introduction.

      Dancer, set and costume designer, and teacher Ricketts joined director and dramaturg DD Kugler in curating this year’s 12 Minutes Max Series, which hosted four informal studio showings throughout the season. It’s an initiative that’s been running in Vancouver since 1994 and relaunched in 2014 to further emphasize critical feedback and community dialogue.

      Dancer and singer Twiddy, who is currently working towards a debut EP, brought her performing talents together in Volume One. Dancers aren’t usually trained or comfortable as vocalists but Twiddy has notable capacity in both disciplines, and used their marriage to communicate a sorrow-filled journey.

      De Baat and Todd’s duet explored the tension of giving and taking support, of resisting and being pushed into roles. De Baat is physically smaller than Todd and despite admitting in the talkback to not wanting to create any set relationship, she does end up being lifted and manipulated more often. The two have found moments of unique interaction and partnering through technical choreography.

      The one noncontemporary dance piece during the evening’s showings was Satkunaratnam’s solo, Inconsequential. It included sound bites from recent international news events, which Satkunaratnam interpreted through bharata natyam dance. Though Satkunaratnam works in Indian classical dance, her work investigates contemporary issues, such as political participation.

      The final and formal performance of 12 Minutes Max, featuring a combination of artists from the year, takes place June 3 at The Dance Centre.