This review is written by Guest Blogger Leslie Heydon:
I had the privilege to witness an excerpt from “IHU” presented Tuesday at the Aki Studio as part of CPAMO’s 10th Anniversary. In the language of the Kamayura people of Brazil, IHU means everything which can be heard and includes the supernatural, the sound of spirits and the magical beings of the forest. “IHU” choreographed by Newton Moraes and mentored by Jean Sasportes (Pina Bausch Wuppertal Tanztheater) represents his personal journey of self-discovery, acceptance of all aspects of his spirit, and triumph over prejudice through the development of his spiritual self. After his partner passed away in 2008, Moraes wanted to leave everything and go back to Brazil. This challenging phase in his life was the inspiration for the creation of “IHU”, a tribute to Robert Shirley. The excerpt of “IHU” I saw was a solo dance performed by Newton Moraes with lighting design by Gabriel Cropley.
Moraes’ performance was physically high energy and paired with deeply rhythmic music it projected an urgency that held my rapt attention. During part of the piece, he donned a clear plastic face mask that referenced feminine ideals of beauty. By partially obscuring his face the mask conveyed a sense of disconnection and discomfort. It spoke to me of the brittle pretext of outer world coping contrasted with an internal struggle. While wearing the mask, Moraes interacted with audience members creating a sense of connection that was both comforting and gave me an unsettled feeling of apprehension. This juxtaposition of contrasting emotions elicited through the mask and Moraes’ visceral movement style was compelling and I feel represents the crazy ride of grief in which so many contrasting emotions come in waves. Moraes’ performance was powerful yet vulnerable and thus poignant.
I look forward to seeing one of Moraes’ full length works.
Leslie Heydon has a bachelor’s degree from U of T (Major in Psychology, Specialty in Fine Arts). Leslie trained as an Expressive Arts Therapist at the CREATE Institute and worked in addictions for over 10 years in specialized programs for women and black youth, providing individual therapy and facilitating groups. Her passion is to explore and guide others to explore the internal wilderness of the soul.