Review: ‘wag’ explores emotion, music, and dance

Denise Clarke brings an engaging personality, an easy physicality, and great musical taste to ‘wag’, a hybrid work of dance, music, theatre, and even standup.

Two themes or questions I get from this work: How does one go on while suffering commonplace but nonetheless immense loss, and what does it mean to dance boldly and openly, outside in the world?

The sound and the projected images work fantastically well. When Clarke comes on stage in her Alberta-worthy winter coat, a park in the winter is projected behind her. She makes you feel the intense chill as she begins her journey to an empty theatre.

George Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue is central, and what Clarke does with it is lovely. Music is something Clarke has found very healing, and she shares it with us.

It is hard to say too much about the work without revealing what is better experienced than explained. I will say that if you take the opportunity to wear a ball gown to the show, you might be happy you did.

Contemporary dance, or indeed dance in general, is a language. Clarke plays with this idea, and in so doing, makes dance accessible to non-experts (like me). This is a work that focuses on emotions rendered visible; it can readily be appreciated.

At the Firehall Arts Centre until Saturday.


Denise Clarke in ‘wag’ (by Trudie Lee Photography)


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