Putting a collage into motion

McGill dance troup Mosiaca returns with another colourful experiment in movement, sound, and music

Attention students wishing to escape the mental exhaustion of midterm season: you will certainly find enjoyment in resting your brains and pleasing your eyes and ears at this year’s Mosaica performance, All in Your Mind. Mosaica is McGill’s student-run contemporary dance ensemble. The company incorporates a variety of dance styles including jazz, ballet, hip hop, modern, and contemporary for one singularly creative production.

Over the past few weeks, I have been fortunate enough to sit in on some Mosaica practices and observe the blood, sweat, and scrapes that go into creating a 22-piece event. Each company member is given an opportunity to choreograph; as a result, the show is truly a collective effort. Mosaica offers dancers an opportunity to exhibit their ingenuity and hard work – and as an innocent bystander, it was impossible to tell the professional dancers from the novices.

One of the pieces I observed was a lyrical number choreographed by Lauren Robinson to Keri Noble’s ballad “Look at Me.” The piece has six dancers, one male and five females. Each brings a strength and enthusiasm that complements their fellow performers. No one dancer monopolizes centre stage, yet they each have a brief moment in the limelight. As choreographer Stephanie Daub tells me, “the show is not a competition, but an opportunity for dancers to perform for friends, family, and eager audiences.”

Mosaica is hoping to top last year’s performance by diversifying their program and showcasing the company’s recent changes. Following their annual October auditions, Mosaica took on 11 new dancers, increased its focus on lyrical and hip-hop, and gave each of the group’s 20 members an opportunity to choreograph a number in the show.

Mosaica is decidedly supportive of equality among dancers. “Our dancers came from different studios and got different training. It’s great to see how each person brings their own talents to the dances,” says Daub.

Mosaica intends to further enhance the show with video features and special guests. During costume changes, audiences will get a behind-the-scenes look at the company’s creative process: a montage of interviews, audition clips, and practices will be projected on stage. One of McGill’s a cappella groups, Tonal Ecstasy, will also take the stage at the performance’s intermission.

Dance performances have become increasingly accessible in the last 10 years with the marriage of straight-to-DVD hip-hop movies and on-demand cable television. If the sharp choreography and booty-popping in Stomp the Yard, Step Up or Take the Lead have whet your appetite for expressive dance, come see it live at Mosaica.

All in Your Mind plays March 6 to 8, at 8 p.m. at the Gesu Theatre (1200 Bleury). For tickets call 514-861-4036.