Live performances might seem a thing of the past but on air, created by Heidi Strauss (adelheid) and presented by Citadel + Compagnie, is helping to bring it back. It’s an immersive performance that encompasses audience participation, videography, projection, spoken word, and dance to create an experience that is unique and impactful. The Citadel was transformed into an intimate theatre with dynamic lighting to put every delicate movement on display. The thoughts and experiences of both dancers and audience members alike were put on air for everyone to hear and see. No one was left in the dark.
Before the performance started, the audience was asked to fill out a Google Form on their phones: a short survey asking questions like what letters make up our favourite sound, what we do when we are unsure, and more. The answers were then incorporated into the show. In this way, there was a silent dialogue between viewer and performer, which was interspersed within the physical and vocal conversations of the three performers. This immersion, and audience participation, provided the opportunity for a secret dialogue to take place that only one individual in the audience would be privy to, bringing an intimacy into the work. Both the observed and unobserved dialogues were seamlessly incorporated into the movement of the piece, adding a sense of spontaneity, play, and excitement.
The only drawback to the show is how easy it was to get lost in the abstractions of the work. There are two voice-overs in the piece that are taken from a conversation with one of the performers' great grandmothers. The second recording is very thought provoking and beautiful. However, the first time the voice is heard, it is unclear and slightly muffled. This left the audience in an uneasy situation, wondering what they missed and how the lost moment contributed to the overall aesthetic of the show.
Being able to see every movement, every smile, every moment of concentration on the stage was a welcome experience after being separated from everything by a screen for so long. Heidi Strauss’s choreography used off balance movements, twists, and weight sharing to generate a deep and necessary connection between the performers. The effort that went into the movement was not hidden but put on air for the audience to observe and understand. You could not help but share in the performers struggles, their joys, and their sorrows. on air manages to create a unique and immersive experience that can never be the same twice. It is a living breathing organism that puts our actions and thoughts in the light.
Author: Nicole Decsey
Dates: February 18th to February 26th, 2022
Venue: The Citadel Ross Centre for Dance