The Toronto Dance Theatre presents welcome, we’ve been waiting, created by versatile artist, Rodney Diverlus. This dance work is a colourful, meta-theatrical experience that can be awkward to track thematically, but deeply evocative and compelling regardless.
Before entering the space proper, three dancers warm us up with some seductive opening moves on a staircase. This is a taste of Diverlus’ sensual choreography and the lush, neon colours that will define Shawn Henry’s lighting design.
There is a disarming sense of dress-up and horseplay. A wheeled ballet clothing rack is pulled around, jam packed with disparate outfits the performers pull from. Throughout the performance, each dancer alters their persona as they’re transformed by each new aesthetic in Diseiye Thompson’s flamboyant costumes.
The performers frequently break the fourth wall, acknowledging the audience and each other, their attitude shifting with each change in the musical style and dynamic relationships. Flourishing handheld theatrical lamps, they play with the artifice of the performance itself, communicating with each other through manipulation of the tech.
With diverse styles of music composed by TiKA (in collaboration with Dillon Baldasserro), the performers play out a series vignettes that indulge the viewer’s interpretive imagination. Some of the later segments become increasingly erotic.
The dancers—Yuichiro Inoue, Peter Kelly, Megumi Kokuba, Erin Poole, Devon Snell, Margarita Soria, and Roberto Soria—are an eclectic group. Though there are hints at dramatic tension, there is an overall atmosphere of camaraderie and inclusion.
There is little in the way of scenery, but there is a sense of spectacle in the abundant energy and colour. The high, open playing area is framed by lines of transparent beads. This element is used sparingly, making any interaction with it quite striking.
welcome, we’ve been waiting is a conceptually inventive, viscerally compelling work. And very sexy.