Canadian Beauty

Choreography: Deborah Dunn in collaboration with the performers.
Performers: Delia Brett, Deborah Dunn, Sara Hanley, Audrée Juteau, Louise Lecavalier, Dean Makarenko, Lukas Pearse, Elise Vanderborght
Music: Lukas Pearse and Colleen
Lighting: James Proudfoot


Choreography: Deborah Dunn
Performers: Natalie Zoey Gauld, Sara Hanley, Audrée Juteau, Alexandre Parenteau, Dean Makarenko, Pierre-Marc Ouellette
Music: Diane Labrosse
Costumes: Deborah Dunn and Josée Gagnon
Lighting: Jpt

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Deborah Dunn’s latest creation is an audacious invitation into the world of Virginia Woolf’s Orlando. In this eccentric group piece six interpreters construct and deconstruct the faux history surrounding the fascinating, androgynous figure of Orlando whose pursuit of love and poetry travels through epochs. For Dunn the novel is a diving board in to a satirical survey of five centuries tracing Orlando’s fall (or ascension) through gender and class. With an ingenious mixture of genres and eras, Deborah Dunn has employed her keen sense of mise en scene, evoking ideas of infinity, the search for life and a lover and the trying journey of creation.

«With its slow pace, luxurious costumes and distinctively «dance-y» movement vocabulary, the piece seems to laugh in the face of contemporary choreographic codes.»

«Audrée Juteau is brilliant in the show’s title role. With her technical precision and understated confidence, one can’t help but agree when she tells us ‘the Queen loves my legs.»

«Dunn’s movement vocabulary… we understand what is meant by the expression ‘poetry in motion.’»
Helen Simard, Danscussions 2012

Four Quartets

Choreography: Deborah Dunn
Performer: Deborah Dunn
Music: David Cronkite, Dino Giancola, Diane Labrosse, Gaétan Leboeuf
Dramaturgy: Dean Makarenko
Costumes: Deborah Dunn and Josée Gagnon
Lighting Design: James Proudfoot

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T.S. Eliot considered the Four Quartets to be his masterpiece. The poems draw upon three decades of study in philosophy and mysticism, each one meditating on the nature of time (theological, historical and physical) and its relationship to the human condition. Each poem begins with a rumination prompted by the geographical location in the title and each poem relates to one of the four elements: air, earth, water and fire. This work has allowed Deborah to develop her fascination for the relationship between movement and language. The choreography embraces Eliot's play of imagery and abstractions, its lyric and architectural style weaving through the musicality of the language to meet the grace and power of the words. The piece gives Eliot's meditations on time and being a new substance, and a humanity that is both modernist and contemporary. With this work Deborah has departed from the narrative interests that have dominated her work for quite some time. Four Quartets presents a contemplative worldworld, both modern and formal, while not letting go to the humour and sensuality characteristic of Deborah's work.

"Deborah Dunn's Four Quartets inspired by the poetry of T.S. Eliot... is rich in meaning, magnificently crafted and exquisitely performed. I deem it a Canadian classic."
Paula Citron, The Globe and Mail

"...this interplay of movement and text is spellbinding. Her dance is both athletic and formal, a mixture of large steps and simple postures that interpret and amplify Eliot's words... she floats to the floor as if through water, or forms a herd of elemental animal forms. Even when she lies prone on the stage her figuration is full of points of interest."
Joan Sullivan, The Telegram Nfld

"The meaning of the lines is complex in Eliot's spiritual work, but Dunn's intelligent work with the poet's meditation on the cyclical nature of life and experience offered shifts and nuance that make for an inspired outing. (The first two poems are read by Sir Alec Guinness, while the latter two are read by Dunn herself). There's no exposition of the work, and Dunn seamlessly shifts between attachment and detachment. As she moves, she veers between fluidity and a beautifully crisp and meticulous dancing. With articulate elegance, Dunn is able to capture many aspects in her performance: fragments of beauty, comic moments and a languorous sense of contemplation. Her rich use of costume (she designs her own) adds another later of delight. Here, she shifts from a simple brown suit with red lining to a scarlet Elizabethan-styled full skirt."
Philip Sporor, The Dance Current

Elegant Heathens

Choreography: Deborah Dunn
Performers: Audrée Juteau, Alexandre Parenteau, Dean Makarenko, Deborah Axelrod, Sophie Lavigne
Music: Vivaldi, Purcell, Chopin, Haendel, Schubert
Costumes: Deborah Dunn and Josée Gagnon
Lighting Design: Deborah Dunn

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Trial & Eros brings forth another theatrically outrageous work; witness the patriarchal implosion, watch the phoenix princess rise, behold the new disorder and laugh!

Five eccentric characters, a family of hedonists in the final stages of their glory, indulge their witty and absurd theatricality in both celebration and critique. Deborah Dunn has brought her dance theatre to new heights in this work, joining many veins from the body of her 15 years of choreography into one unified work.

Delving into an ironic yet compelling romanticism, the work unites the lyrical and the architectural in dances which hone Dunn’s musical and painterly style. Working with the sculptural and the ecstatic, the still and the moving, richly detailed, striking tableaux come to life in vibrant ensemble dancing. The quintet moves out of unison in complex spatial patterns or duos and trios come together in elegant partnering.

The characters house an immense passion, a brewing rebellious power, and an unabashed creative command of the stage. They are also hilarious. Theatrical scenes are seamlessly woven into the choreography giving the audience the full range each performers expression. Elegant Heathens has music by Vivaldi, Purcell, Chopin, Handel and Schubert. The costumes are as colourful and as sumptuous as the music, making the whole evening a sensually delightful experience.

“Elegant Heathens temporarily lifts the veil of “socially appropriate behavior” from our shoulders and reminds us that to be human is to have quirks, desires and feelings we cannot always explain, but perhaps should not always need to. Social codes play an invaluable role in controlling humanity’s more destructive urges. When permitted to become unwieldy, however, such codes can have a stifling effect on the human spirit. In a world of red tape, rules and restrictions (social, governmental, what have you) Dunn’s work is an explorative breath of fresh air that reminds us of Art’s importance to Life, and to our world.
Nicolette Little, Plank Magazine