** Rhonda Baker’s Part will be danced by Elise Vanderborght
Sable Island choreographed by Serge Bennathan takes you somewhere I’ll bet you will never see in your entire lifetime. Government Regulated, the real life Sable Island is home to a herd of horses shipwrecked on a lonely sandbar off the coast of Nova Scotia. It is a National Park and is only accessible by chartered plane or private sea vessel with special permission from Parks Canada.
Drawing parallels between the windswept horses and the dancers of Mocean; Sable Island takes strength, vulnerability and generosity to perform. Seeing the piece in rehearsal; just before the ladies take off for their tour reminded me of the intense generosity it takes to be a dancer. Generosity when your body wants to give up but you’re only 3/4 of the way through a piece; generosity when a choreographer wants more when you’ve already given everything and you’re able to muster that bit more, pushing the edge of the movement; generosity when there are only a few people in the room watching but you give it your all because you care so much for your art form.
Having seen the piece in all its’ glory I was taken back to a fully lit stage where for moments in time the dancers on stage truly became wild horses or ghosts of shipwrecks. The power behind their movement reaches beyond imagery and allows one to feel the sincere loneliness and tribulation of Sable Island horses.
Similar to the struggle of dance artists in Halifax, the piece portrays multiple dimensions of Atlantic Canadian Culture. With a brilliant sound score by Bertrand Chenier and lighting design by Stephane Ménigot,the work is a true crowd pleaser for audiences of all ages.