by Paula Citron.
Take it Back
Newfoundland Festival of New Dance
Choreographed by Helen Simard and Jo Dee Allan
Performed by Helen Simard, Jo Dee Allan, Joe-Danny Aurelian and Guy-Robert Jean
This year’s audience-friendly company at the Newfoundland Festival of New Dance was Montreal’s hip hop-based Solid State who performed the engaging Take it Back. Choreographers and co-artistic directors Helen Simard and Jo Dee Allen are not just flash and dash, however. They place hip hop within a well-thought out context.
Using the big band sounds of Les Mains Libres, the two women and male colleagues Joe-Danny Aurelian and Guy-Robert Jean played a game of follow the leader as they tried to reintroduce couple dancing. Their premise is that urban street dance is very individualistic, and it is these starry solo turns that have been the death knell of two people dancing together.
The combination of energetic couples jive and showy hip hop outbursts was absolutely irresistible. It did take overlong for Solid State to establish their theme through pauses and fragmented movement, but the company brims with infectious fun, and so can be forgiven. These kids can dance up a storm.