Wednesday, January 30, 2013

PuSh 2013: Still Standing You

Still Standing You, a PuSh Festival co-production with The Dance Centre that continues tomorrow and Friday and Saturday, opens with Pieter Ampe lying on the floor, legs stretched in the air, supporting the full weight of Guilherme Garrido, who sits perched on Ampe's feet. Garrido proceeds to make casual conversation with the audience, mostly about the duo's explorations of Vancouver since their arrival, and their delight at discovering the nearby Elbow Room and owner Patrick Savoie and his staff's famous schtick of insulting their breakfasting patrons. The idea that a) we might willingly seek to be abused, debased, and humiliated, and b) that we might delight in watching this happen to others, more or less sums up the premise of this eye-opening show, which is as much an extended wrestling match as it is contemporary dance.

For sixty minutes Ampe and Garrido stomp around the stage, and on each other, grunting and sweating like cave men as they test the limits of what they can take from the other, and what they will give back in return. This includes whipping each other with their belt straps and, in the piece's most aggressively intimate sequence, manipulating each other's penises as they spiral and twist around each other in a gymnastic (and presumably painful) pas de deux. And all the while we watch avidly, laughing while wincing, enthusiastic and willing voyeurs to an S/M spectacle that is as tender as it is tough.

Still Standing You is unlike anything you've seen before--which more or less sums up what PuSh is all about.


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