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COBA - School
COBA's company in 'Orisha Suite'
Full spectrum moves fade out in places SARACA PLUS DuMaurier Theatre May 24, 25, 26 1996 By Susan Walker - Entertainment Reporter

Only the broadest of tastes in contemporary dance will find fulfilment in every aspect of DanceWorks' Saraca Plus, at the du Maurier Theatre Centre through this afternoon at three.

Photo of BaKari E. Lindsay, co-founder of COBA, the Collective of Black Artistsv

The program shared by COBA (Collective of Black Artists) and Sylvie Bouchard packs in a full spectrum of movement, from traditional African, to indigenous Caribbean, to modern, post-modern and a few forms that remain nameless. Eddison B. Lindsay's Distant Voices, a l994 work to the music of Dead Can Dance, and Saraca, another Lindsay piece from 1994, are strong dances that sweep you along, with their bold statements, remarkable rhythms and powerful fusion of traditional and contemporary. It's the "Plus" - or the minus -in the program that calls for an entirely different perspective.

Bouchard collapsed two works into one to make The Balancing Act, a quintet of the same name, and a solo, A Marée Bassé.

Performed by Kathleen Pritchard, David Danzon, Pascal Desrosiers, Gerald Michaud and Tara Rosling, it opens arrestingly enough with four of the five dancers in white plaster masks. A series of tableaux representing tentative romance, breakdown or hostility between partners - part pantomime, part dance illustrates the title. A mannequin-like couple periodically criss-crosses the stage, stopping to play a violent game of scissors-paper-stone or shower themselves with confetti.

Odd, fragmentary images, interspersed between passages of purely abstract dance make for a confusing piece that sometimes disintegrates into a bad night with performance artists.

Anne-Marie Hood, of COBA, makes an even more curious work in Arc(k), danced by Tanya white. The dissonance of the cello music composed by Hood and played on stage is matched by the deliberately disjointed choreography. White performs upon a painting, made by David Duclos, and a box; created by Richard Cumberbatch. Weirdly acrobatic, full of hinged movements and static, off-the-floor contortions, Arc(k) turns in on itself to frustrate the viewer.

At the end of the program, Saraca brings back the welcome, all-of-a.piece choreography of Eddison Lindsay Four singers, or chantuelles, three percussionists and seven dancers dazzlingly costumed and turbaned in white perform a celebratory dance based on the traditional styles of five African nations.

Drawing on the Yoruba rituals of thanksgiving and praise Lindsay adapts sacrament to the modern stage, with an energy of a gospel group and the strength and conviction of an Olympic athlete.

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