DOUBLE MURDER (Clowns/The Fix) by Hofesh Shechter Company

Torque Dance Series at Toronto's Harbourfront Centre

Todd MacDonald

Joe Szekeres

The more I see dance, the more I am puzzled and the more I want to ask questions. And that’s a good thing.

But the more I see dance productions, the more I know I’m not going to understand everything and that’s fine since I’ve no background or education in the art form. Recent interviews with many dance artists have encouraged me simply to sit back, experience, revel and admire what I see in front of me.

That is most certainly the case with the Hofesh Shechter Company and the opening night of DOUBLE MURDER as part of the Torque dance series at Toronto’s Harbourfront Centre.

According to a release I received:

“Double Murder is a thrilling exploration of the chaotic and oppressive forces present within our modern times. The performance features two distinctly contrasting works: Clowns is a sarcastic and playful nod to our ever-growing indifference to violence, while The Fix presents a tender, fragile antidote to the omnipresent forces of aggression that press on us daily. Set to Shechter's sweepingly cinematic, percussive score, Double Murder exposes painful truths and deep emotions.”

I did what many of the interviewed dance artists encouraged me to do. I sat back…

And…

I may not have understood everything that played out in front, but the one thing that remains within my soul as I write this today:

‘A captivating, hypnotic and mesmerizing production by artists who held me sometimes tenderly and sometimes cautiously.”

I couldn’t take my eyes off the ten of them throughout both presentations. I was scanning the stage quickly to see where each of them was. I wanted to see who held the power at the moment, was that power sustained or was it transferred somewhere else?

Underscored by what I call a unique pulsating Shechter score, there are moments of physical assault and violence all in the name of entertainment. Even though it was all mimed, the intensity of the dancers emanated strongly from the Fleck stage and pierced right to my very being. I felt my eyes close at one point because the image was so graphically vivid that I wanted to block it out.

After the interval, ‘The Fix’ was just exactly what I needed from the dramatic intensity of the first half. The second presentation became more of a dramatic balm for me. There were such tender poignant moments in connection where the artists embraced each other with the utmost care and compassion that it was magical to witness.

But they didn’t stop there.

(Spoiler alert)

The artists came into the auditorium with the audience and reached out to them silently with arms ready for an embrace and connection. There was no pushing just in case audience members were not ready to share in the embrace.

One of the artists made eye contact with me and just by looking into her eyes she wanted to connect with me but there was no pressure if I didn’t want to do so.

I accepted her connection and embraced her at that moment, Covid be damned. A human connection with a stranger for a brief moment.

Again, truly magical.

Final Comments: The art and performance of dance are all about connection. Connection means many things to many people.

Go see how this wonderful and stunning Hofesh Schechter Company connects on extraordinary levels.

Running time: approximately 90 minutes with one intermission.

‘Double Murder’ continues October 28 and 29 in the Fleck Dance Theatre in Queen’s Quay Terminal, 3rd floor, 207 Queen’s Quay West, Toronto. For tickets, visit harbourfrontcentre.com.

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