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A review of love and relationship told by method dance company

May 10, 2010

Last Friday I had the pleasure of viewing METHOD’s newest dance piece, “then see if you still love us.” The dancing, as well as the dancers, was captivating to watch. As Bradley Michaud, the group’s artistic director, described in his earlier interview, the piece focuses thematically on love and relationships. The hour long performance, comprised of shorter sections, some of which were done to music and others in silence, highlighted different types of relationships, with emotions ranging from anger to tenderness.

The first impression I walked away with was the sheer intensity of the choreography. One couldn’t help but react on some level to high energy and blatant themes that came through. METHOD’s main style is highly athletic, with group members often throwing themselves and others around and onto the floor. In the small theater, the reverberations of bodies hitting the floor and felt through the seats by the audience made the impression all the more dramatic. Stylistically at times, it was reminiscent of the Apache dance of the 1930s, which had violent and very physical styles of movement where a couple literally mock-fought and threw each other around.

Sections done to music alternated with those done without, and only the heavy breathing of the dancers broke the silence to those latter sections. I found this, even more than the musically backdropped pieces, connected me to the dancers, to both the athleticism of the movement but also the rawness of energy they put forth. Minimalistic props, no stage setting and simple lighting also lended itself to forcing the viewer to focus on the story being told. There were no distractions to pull the eyes or ears away from the dance, a somewhat bold move that I believe enhanced the experience. At times the audience’s involuntary laughing and audible gasps made it clear the subject matter and story had struck a deeper chord.

Music, when used, had a whimsical tone, which in contrast to the silent sections made the dancing feel almost lighthearted. Sharp, flighted actions gave way to smoother, more lyrical touches. In one section, with a male and female dancer, locked with heads and bodies connected, fighting one another, gave the sense of two people intertwined, unable to live without each other and yet leaning in ways that hinted to dependency and conflict. Another had three male dancers, slowly undressing to the narration of personal ads, becoming more exposed, more vulnerable, drawing slowly closer to one another in a hesitant dance that reflected the uncertainties of new intimacy.

All told, “then see if you still love us” was a striking performance that touched on the themes common to us all. Searching for connection and belonging, the confusion, anger and frustration as well as happiness and joy in our journey to be loved and give love. One walks away from the performance both richer and reflective of how their movement captures our own experiences in life. METHOD is group to watch in the future, with masterfully crafted and executed choreography that leaves an indelible impression of the human experience captured in dance.

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