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'Les corps avales' (Swallowed Bodies)

The Ontario Premiere by Compagnie Virginie Brunelle

Vanessa Fortin

Joe Szekeres

Please note: I have no educational background or training in the study of dance and movement. Instead, I will comment on the theatrical presentation of ‘Les Corps Avalés’.

I had the opportunity to attend Hofesh Shechter Company’s presentation of DOUBLE MURDER (Clowns/The Fix) as part of the Torque series. Highly impressed at the incorporation of dance and movement to tell two different tales, I wanted to keep an eye on what Torque had planned for future performances.

My intrigue and respect for the art of dance and movement continued with ‘Les Corps Avalés’ (Swallowed Bodies) recently staged in the Simon Fleck Dance Theatre as part of the Torque contemporary dance series. This production was the Ontario premiere by the Québec Compagnie Virginie Brunelle.

‘Les Corps Avalés’ was billed as “a moving human odyssey that reveals Virginie Brunelle’s sensitive intelligence and great musicality in all its luminous power…set against a backdrop of resilience and hope, ‘Les corps avalés’ explores power relations, inequalities, and social upheaval.”

Hmmm…. a lot going on here in this description and to link it to what I was just about to see. I may not have connected these elements in watching the production, but other things came to my mind.

What continues to fascinate me about the art of dance and movement? Watching how the artist(s) can gracefully tell a story with such controlled passion.

This passion most assuredly came alive on the Fleck stage. The sinewy strength of the dance artists resoundingly continues to fascinate. ‘Les corps avalés’ did just that but there was something more to this creative art of contemporary style that I hadn’t realized before.

Extreme trust is a common element among the physicality of these artists. When I say trust, I mean it in the sense of relying on another dance artist to be present for any staged choreographed movement for dramatic effect.

‘Les corps avalés’ went one step further.

That trust element I saw has now been heightened. These dancers mightily throw/jump and cascade their bodies now with that inherently trusting sense the other artist is there to catch. It becomes an intensely emotional and human connection and internal exploration of the soul, sometimes highly and sexually charged. My guest commented this production was very European in style. For example, many of the dance movements and gestures of these seven artists become deeply sexual and erotic sounds and images are conveyed within the storytelling.

A strong component of the show was the use of live music which is crucial to appreciate the art of dance. Live music immediately connected me to the artists and to watch how they incorporated their bodies through storytelling.

Final Comments: At times complex and engrossing while at other times riveting and exhausting, ‘Les Corps Avalés’ is a reminder of the power of human emotion and connection in dance and movement.
The production has now closed.

To learn more about The Torque Dance Series, visit #torquetoronto. To learn more about La Compagnie Virginie Brunelle, visit

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