Denise Fujiwara and Susie Burpee
Part of Harbourfront’s NextSteps Series
Runs until March 6, 2010 @ Enwave Theatre
By Helen Fylactou
Choreographed and performed by Fujiwara, Lost & Found is the story of the slow progression of a woman losing her mind. Fujiwara exclaims to the audience, “I know I have issues, but who would I be without my issues.” It’s a heart-wrenching performance examining the duality of a woman dealing with mental instability; she’s struggling to find herself while trying not to lose what defines her. Fujiwara appears in multiple outfits and with an empty nest on her head. As the performance continues, Fujiwara begins to shed the layers, enacting different stages of her depression.
Fujiwara expresses so much without much movement — she morphs from a knowing woman to a woman lost in her own mind, her face at first a static mask. Later, full of expression, her eyes are wide, mouth forming silent screams and her fingers, wedged together by translucent pantyhose, move like a claw. She is broken, stumbling and falling in desperation. Fujiwara is known for constantly redefining herself in the world of Canadian dance, and she does it again with this performance. Elegant, risky and experimental, Fujiwara evokes a raw emotion.
The second performance of the evening came from multi-award winning dancer and choreographer Susie Burpee. Fidelity’s Edge in an unwavering and courageous look at the gut-wrecking moments of an intimate relationship. Candidly danced by Burpee and her long-time partner Dan Wild, it begins as Burpee watches and listens to a shared video conversation/confrontation, sending her body into twitches of despair. The pair thrashes at one another, taunting and then embracing. Music by Canadian artists Christine Fellows and John K. Samson (of The Weakerthans) provides the soundtrack of a relationship during conflict and resolve.
Over the past 15 years, Susie Burpee has carved out unique performances and Fidelity’s Edge is no exception. Filling the stage with a white shag carpet, a television and a couch, Burpee and Wild blur the lines between hope and despair. Burpee’s movements are fluid and expressive, easily conveying her feelings of despair. The dance is ferocious, including a scene where Burpee hurls herself at Wild, who deflects her with a sofa cushion. The seasoned dancers manipulate their movements to have many layers. Extreme emotions, from tenderness to aggression, switch within seconds. Burpee’s breathing becomes the narrator of the duet — at times she’s gasping for air, at others she relaxes into the arms of her lover. Burpee has created a complex work that is thought-provoking, emotionally driven and beautifully melancholy.