Papillon

Knowing nothing about Papillon is how I entered… it’s also exactly how I left.

An experimental dance canvas upon which you can paste your own desires, fears and beliefs

The work of Canadian experimental arts company We All Fall Down (WAFD), Papillon brings us three dancers, three musicians and a stage. What ensues is a human canvas upon which you can paste your own desires, fears and beliefs.

Inspired by chaos theory and complex mathematical equations I later learn, Papillon asks what – if anything – can we predict in a world governed by unpredictability?

The dancers move individually, in their own worlds, playing with diverse styles and pacing to keep us rapt for the full hour. I attempt to ascribe meaning to the fierce facial expressions of Nindy Banks and her electric intensity, imagining intimacy between Mecdy Jean-Pierre and Maude Laurin-Beaulieu, two of the most captivating dancers I’ve ever had the pleasure to watch. My intellectual mind oscillates from considerations of gender, race and sex, never settling on one.

Though the three dancers exist within their own spheres, they are pulled into sync at various moments, sharing brief physical connection and fleeting eye contact. The music meanwhile is common ground for all of us, a hypnotic soundscape produced by Roger White and his band who blend discordant electronic beats with jazz, hip-hop and drum’n’bass.

At some point, I realise that my inability to ascribe meaning is kind of the point. The effort is the art. Sweat stains the dancers’ clothing and drips freely from proud chins, pushing the bar of physical expression to its limits. And though I leave clueless as to the intentions of director Helen Simard, I understand that where our minds land is where the truth lies. We want the dancers to connect, we want them to fall into a pattern, we long to understand.

Which means, ultimately, your guess is as good as mine!

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Reviews by Laura Tucker

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Since you’re here…

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You can donate to the charity of your choice, but if you're looking for inspiration, there are three charities we really like.

Mama Biashara
Kate Copstick’s charity, Mama Biashara, works with the poorest and most marginalised people in Kenya. They give grants to set up small, sustainable businesses that bring financial independence and security. That five quid you spend on a large glass of House White? They can save someone’s life with that. And the money for a pair of Air Jordans? Will take four women and their fifteen children away from a man who is raping them and into a new life with a moneymaking business for Mum and happiness for the kids.
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Performances

Location

The Blurb

What can we expect from the unexpected? What can we recognize in a world governed by unpredictability? Street and contemporary dance collide as three dancers weave in and out of sync through a complex choreographic partition, supported by a live, hypnotic musical soundtrack that blends the sounds and rhythms of jazz, hip hop and drum'n'bass. Inspired by chaos theory and complex mathematical equations, Papillon is an emotional, engulfing reflection on order and disorder, singularity and similarity, metamorphosis, and the importance of human connection in trying times. A powerful performance that will have audiences dancing in their seats.

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