Friday November 26, 8pm, Spatz Theatre, 1855 Trollope Street, $20-$35
There’s a sense of ominous magic infused in the spellbinding fantasy world of Bygones. Filled with ghostly architecture and sinister encounters, the contemporary dance show has an underlying theme of how people are shaped by the challenges they overcome. After being unable to present a show for nearly two years, Halifax presenter Live Art Dance is returning to the stage with this expressive, virtuosic performance.
Bygones is a work from Out Innerspace Dance Theatre, a Vancouver-based dance company headed by David Raymond and Tiffany Tregarthen. The show will take over the Spatz Theatre for one night only, this Friday November 26, turning the stage into a vision that people might’ve “never dreamed were possible,” according to Live Art Dance’s artistic director Randy Glynn.
Out Innerspace Dance Theatre first created the show by considering the phrase “let bygones be bygones,” exploring what it means to forgive someone for something they did in the past. “The show itself is an abstract reflection on some of these ideas,” says Glynn. “It's loaded with just plain magic.”
Raymond and Tregarthen were both born in British Columbia and started dancing at young ages—four and eight, respectively. After years of studying various styles of dance and taking their careers across the world, Raymond and Tregarthen first collaborated in 2004. While they’re both artistic directors at Out Innerspace Dance Theatre, they’re also key dancers in Kidd Pivot—a Vancouver dance company founded in 2002 by celebrated choreographer and dancer Crystal Pite.
“It’s currently regarded as the best dance company in the world; these guys are amongst the best contemporary dancers in the world,” Glynn says. “They’ve just come from the National Arts Centre and off the European tour, and we get them and we’re lucky to have them.”
Bygones is chock-full of hyper-detailed movement and sharp visual effects, including one lighting effect that “slices” the stage in two halves. “People and objects can come in and out like magic,” Glynn says. “It’s a combination of very skilled lighting effects and haze and projections. It’s sort of a cascade of, ‘I didn’t believe that was possible’ type thing.”
Besides Bygones, Glynn says bringing international dance to Halifax is difficult since there are a lack of “building blocks for a healthy ecology” and the community sometimes runs on a skeleton. While he says the people running live theatre and dance shows in Halifax are great, there are some factors—like a proper dance department at Dalhousie University and larger venues—that are hindering.
While the COVID-19 pandemic hasn't made it any easier for communities in the arts, Glynn says the dance community is slowly building back up with some positivity—and Bygones is the tip of that change.
“Their own optimism is somewhat infectious within the show so that you’re left feeling better off for having seen it,” Glynn says.
“The end result is just this feast of magical images.”