Lola McLaughlin

Yesterday Lola McLaughlin died. An amazing woman, choreographer, friend, spirit. I did not know her but still I cried as I sat in the audience of DanceWorks' presentation of "Provincial Essays". So many fine points in the choreography, so many things accomplished with elegance and humour and humanity that I have watched other companies attempt, stumble upon and eventually leave hollow.

Simplicity of gesture and movement for the sake of execution with the total body. And Ron Stewart....I can't go on enough about how this strangely proportioned body can churn up space and itself. He is not ferocious but a vortex unto himself on that stage. Utterly thrilling.

All the dancers were remarkable -- not only for their ability to perform with clarity and depth, humour and emotion without slipping, just hours after finding out that Lola had passed away.

It ended. I almost missed the end. I'd been staring at a non-focal point on the stage and my mind was wandering over the images I'd just seen and then I felt the lights fading and searched for that final, deftly, obviously final, moment. But no, just a simple fade in a quiet place. Blackout.

We didn't want to clap. Even though it was clearly the end. Even though it was clearly the end of a beautiful performance.

It didn't seem to me to be a completely realized piece, despite it's immense beauty, simplicity, intensity, wit, light. But perhaps that is just perfect.

Though I didn't know her, Lola taught me an important lesson. Life is too short not to put the work on the stage. You can't be afraid of incomplete sentences, unfinished realizations, unpolished stones. When you do that with an open heart, it's the only way to reflect everyday experience even though the prism of abstract contemporary art.

It didn't feel like a completely realized piece, despite immense beauty, simplicity, intensity, wit, light. But perhaps that is just perfect...


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