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Arts, Theatre

Pulled In By the Sirens' Song

Posted by Amelia / February 5, 2010

2010-02-05Ulysse.jpgWe all know the story - on an epic journey home after fighting in the Trojan War, one of the challenges Ulysses had to overcome was the threat posed by the Sirens, three enchanting women whose singing was known to distract sailors into wrecking their ships on the rocky shore of their island. This myth is also behind the title of choreographer Dominique Porte's latest work, Ulysse, nous et les sirènes.

Created for four dancers - one man, three women - and two female vocalists, the piece certainly seemed poised to engage with the Ulysses myth. But Porte has said in interviews that she doesn't want her audience to see the work as clearly centered around Ulysses' story. It's evident, though, that the myth has worked its way into Porte's choreography. The theme of confusion and searching is very present, whether in the evocative movements of Marc Boivin, the sole male dancer, or in the layered, electronic sound samples that wafted in and out of the dance's score.

The vocalists, Isabelle Ligot and Nadine Medawar, filled out the piece's rich and varied soundscape with haunting, call and response-style singing that, more than anything, evoked the Sirens of the title. When combined with the lush, searching choreography, the piece created a trance-like effect on the viewer. This is why the work was effective - when combined, the work's sound, movement, and visual environment became a very visceral experience, one that suggested the disorientation and despair that marks Ulysses' journey, but that also moved beyond the myth and into relevance for the contemporary world.

Ulysse, nous et les sirènes is at Place Des Arts' Cinquième Salle (175 Ste. Catherine O.) through February 6. For more information visit

Image courtesy of Dominique Porte.

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