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Review

The Coming Silence Is a Wild Ride

kloetzel&co.’s self-guided tour presents a wilderness that is threatened by extinction By Jenna Shummoogum
  • Kaili Che in The Coming Silence / Photo by Sentient Forms

Even with bouts of rain, in the middle of Calgary’s third wave of the pandemic, kloetzel&co.’s The Coming Silence presented by ReLoCate and TRAction took place at Prince’s Island Park as a series of solo dance exhibitions and a group dance performance.

The dancers in this self-guided tour are set up in the wild landscape of the island. Some are tucked in the brush, some are using trees as a backdrop and others are on the banks of the water. 

Their costumes, all designed by Megan Koch, are deep greens, spotted prints, fake fur and theatrical makeup, bringing the wilderness around them into the foreground. Some dancers have on fur slippers, some have sneakers or neutral-coloured shoes. The streaks of colour from the moving costumed bodies make the audience hyper-aware of our surroundings: in the middle of the wild, in the elements. 

Left to Right: Maggie Myles, Hannah Isbister, Taylor Ritchie, Shondra Cromwell-Krywulak, Rufi Oswaldo, and Reese Wilson / Photo by Melanie Kloetzel

 

The tour includes an audio recording that you can play while you walk. With sound designed by Melanie Kloetzel, it includes Extinction of Silence by A. E. Stallings, sound excerpts by Kosta T and The End of an Orange by Paula Matthusen.

Kloetzel’s direction and choreography has each dancer change movements every 30 seconds, and every solo pays tribute to a different animal. Dancers bare their teeth and fist their hands into claws. 

Photo by Linnea Swan – Performer: Kaili Che

 

It’s almost like watching an exhibition of different animals behind an invisible barrier. The movement is athletic and artistic, but standing in the cold and the rain, I wish the choreography were a little more dynamic, covered more ground and had more continuous movement. The solo performances feel more like living statues than dance performance.

The walking tour ends with a final performance in a green space. The artists, including Rufi Oswaldo, Hannah Isbister, Taylor Ritchie, Shondra Cromwell-Krywulak, Meghann Michalsky and Kaili Che, are surrounded by audio piped from speakers. It’s quite a feat given the unpredictable weather. The sound for the final performance includes Tree-oh by Michael Gordon, End of Day and Icy Sleeves of Green v2.0 by Todd Reynolds, Matthusen’s The End of an Orange and A Needle Pulling Fred by Phil Kline – all from Outerborough Innova Recordings #741. 

Kaili Che and Shondra Cromwell-Krywulak / Photo by Sentient Forms

 

The group dance is a nice way to end the walking tour, giving the performers a chance for interplay between them. The dancers from the solo pieces join the big group, and the final performance interprets the theme of extinction. What is humanity’s relationship to other species in the context of that extinction? The choreography points to connectedness; as humans, we are all connected, and the actions of individuals and groups have profound effects on all others.

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