Review: Divergent Dances For Windows And Walls (Anandam Dancetheatre)

Divergent Dances For Windows and Walls offers a beautiful experience in front of The Bata Shoe Museum.

If you were walking or driving past The Bata Shoe Museum at about 8.30 pm this week you probably saw people hanging upside down on ropes that were suspended from the roof. The were members of the Anandam Dancetheatre performing  Divergent Dances For Windows And Walls.

It’s difficult to describe something as visual as Divergent Dances For Windows And Walls. It’s artistic, athletic, sensual, and above all, beautiful.

The performance moves between the outside of the Museum inside to the atrium and staircase and the back balcony. There’s no one spot to watch it from. There’s is always more than just one thing happening; often you turn to move to another spot and find that there are dancers performing right behind you or beside you on the stairs.

The dancers move silently, sliding along the floor, going up the stairs, sometimes alone and sometimes entwined with other dancers. They roll and stretch, always moving, always quiet. They move to the ropes that are hanging down into the stairwell, again sometimes alone and sometimes together. At one point I looked over the railing and there was a man actually dancing on the wall with a little help from another dancer.

Later I looked over again and my friend Bredgeen was being dragged along the floor by her feet by one of the dancers who positioned her under one of the ropes. He then climbed the rope and danced over her.

Through the whole performance there is music that sounds a bit Indian which isn’t surprising given that Anandam’s Artistic Director, Brandy Leary, spent years studying in India.

There was one lovely unscripted moment early in the performance. The audience had crossed from the north side of Bloor back to the south side and stopped to watch two dancers inside performing pressed against the windows. All of a sudden a little boy – about 3 – ran over to the window and pressed his hand on the outside of the glass against the dancer’s hand on the inside of the glass and said excitedly “That’s Mummy!”. Priceless.

One of the dancers was pregnant – quite pregnant, six or seven months – and I realized this was the first time that I had seen a pregnant dancer.

Divergent Dances For Windows And Walls is the second of a three part performance written to be performed at The Bata Shoe Museum. The first part was performed in May 2011 so hopefully we can expect the third part some time in 2013.

There is only one performance left, the gala fundraising performance tonight. It’s a beautiful experience if you can make it.


Divergent Dances For Windows And Walls is playing at The Bata Shoe Museum (327 Bloor Street West) until July 28
– VIP Reception at 7 pm, performance at 8.30 pm
– Tickets are $125.00 for the reception and performance and $75.00 for just the performance
– Tickets are available online or in person (cash only)

Photo of Amy Hampton, Louis Laberge Cote, Jennifer Robichaud by Walter Lai