Review: 15X at Night (Dancing on the Edge Festival)

My first hurdle with any site-specific performance, particularly on Granville Island for some reason, is finding the spot. I’ve noticed a general tendency among people to not allow enough time to navigate Granville Island, and I’m guilty myself. I figured out the right place to be seconds before the dance started.

Walk to Edibles Canada, turn right along Johnson Street, and look for an empty courtyard right next to Ocean Concrete. If you see the colorful silos (which you should see anyway, for Vancouver Bienniale), you’re just a bit too far. But most importantly, leave plenty of time, and enjoy a nice stroll or have a drink before the show starts at 10 PM every night until the end of the festival.

You’ll be sitting in this courtyard, looking at the giftshop you can see in the photo.

I took this photo just after the show ended. SImon Courchel, the dancer, is at the left.

I took this photo just after the show ended. Simon Courchel, the dancer, is at the left.

Paul-André Fortier is the choreographer for this show, and for Misfit Blues. Although the two pieces vary a lot, both use spare, sharp, geometric angularity. There’s no fan in 15X at Night, as there is in Misfit Blues, but I wondered if Courchel might be evoking similar mechanical movement at times. Courchel’s lithe physicality is a joy to watch. There is no sound track, other than the natural sounds you hear on Granville Island at night. As you watch, you can look upward to see the steel trusses of the Granville Street Bridge.

As I watched, I was reminded once again how dance is really another language. How could Courchel remember this precise 30-minute sequence of movements if he does not see meaning and syntax in them? I have some half-formed ideas of the “meaning” of this piece, but I will instead focus on how I was entranced for the entire show, which passed so very quickly.

This is a free show, one of several that Dancing on the Edge puts on, along with various ticketed performances. Take a look:

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