For Body and Light Presents: Bear Dreams – A Dance Show with Poetry

At the start of the show we are welcomed by Ian Ferrier, the storyteller and musician in Bear Dreams. He tells us that this company is from Montreal and that on their tour they have sought out a member of the literary community in each city to join them and share their art at the start of the show.  He introduced us to BC Poet Hillary Peach.  Hillary shared her poem about snakes and took the audience on an enjoyable emotional ride, asking what you would do if you woke up with a rattlesnake on your chest.

Bear Dreams is a dance show with poetry, storytelling, music and light. Ferrier plays his gentle music on an electric guitar while providing a sort of narration with his soft, melodious, almost whispered presentation of his poem.  His words speak to his “search for the heart of winter” while covering thousands of years and all the kilometres from the east to the west of Canada. The poem is historical, emotional, sexual, personal and adventurous. At times the story is confusing and hard to follow but Ferrier’s voice seems to blend with the music and form the accompaniment to the dancers and light that complete this show.

The dancers Danika Cormier and Joachim Yensen-Martin portray the young couple in the poem. They struggle with love, weather, torment, and passion in their search for the heart of winter. In the end their search brings them to the Rocky Mountains where they discover the sleeping bear, the dreaming bear, whose animal spirit changes them. Cormier and Yensen-Martin are strong dancers who have a chemistry between them that makes them easy to watch and, in fact, hard to turn away from. The company uses the lighting almost as a third dancer. A light suspended from a wire is moved around the stage, spun in circles and raised and lowered. The lighting is instrumental in creating locations, the weather, and the journey. It also helped to define the tension, the passion, and the mood of the scenes.

Bear Dreams is a fluid exploration of dance, light, weather and words. There were times when I got lost in the story but the interesting lighting, staging, and dance kept my eyes on the stage.

By Jason T. Broadfoot