CLOSING NOTES

Dance

The outlandish inventiveness of The Satie Project

JOHN BEMROSE October 21 2002
CLOSING NOTES

Dance

The outlandish inventiveness of The Satie Project

JOHN BEMROSE October 21 2002

Dance

The outlandish inventiveness of The Satie Project

Anyone who hasn’t checked in on modern dance lately might be surprised at the shenanigans choreographers like Serge Bennathan are getting up to. The Satie Project, currently being performed (to Oct. 19) by Bennathan’s Toronto-based company, Dancemakers, takes 21 little-known pieces by French composer Erik Satie and makes them the basis for a performance of outlandish inventiveness. Maybe it’s Satie’s wacky titles—one of the compositions played by pianist Eve Egoyan is called Flabby Preludes (for a dog)—but Bennathan’s seven dancers not only dance with their characteristic high-impact physicality, they cluck and crow like barnyard animals.

Because of the short, fragmentary nature of Satie’s pieces, The Satie Project, which will appear in Europe, rarely seems more than the sum of its parts. But what parts. Bennathan’s choreography can explode in interludes of harsh beauty, such as the sexually aggressive duet between Carolyn Woods and Dan Wild. Woods, 37, who is Bennathan’s wife and long-time muse, is retiring at the end of this season because of injuries. She says she may train as an instructor of Pilâtes, a movementbased conditioning regime often used by injured dancers. Given the contortions the performers of The Satie Project put themselves through, she won’t lack for clients. JOHN BEMROSE