Blumberg / Norman Double Bill
Blumberg / Norman Double Bill

Each of us has a little watcher in our heads, a hovering creature that’s as big in our brains as we are on the planet: small, but somehow taking all the space. Yesterday I took mine to see the Blumberg/Norman double-bill at The Citadel on Parliament Street (May 1-3). These two choreographers deal in awareness, and watching this show was a bit like looking out at the horizon and remembering that it’s a lie: there’s way more out there. We just can’t see it, because we’re not that tall.

Tracey Norman opens the second half of the program with a new solo titled “here, and farther.” Norman’s approach is more exploratory than Blumberg’s narrative style. We discover her pressed into the corner, shivering like a moth on a screen. Slowly she emerges into the space, solidifying as she expands. “here, and farther” describes how bravery grows out of fear. Norman draws us through to the other side of creative tension, where pursuit succeeds by relinquishing, and effort obtains its purpose in release.

The program concludes with Norman’s beautiful duet “Witness,” danced by her collaborators Jesse Dell and Jordana Deveau. As many will already know, it is a heartache of a work, in which the two women struggle to arrange the distances between them. Norman reminds us that, even if our insides are multiple, we are never quite comfortable alone. So we find each other, and with cautious fascination, we start to play: play at sex, play at power, play at being ourselves. But like in all games, someone invariably gets hurt. Pain is not the end, however. We come back again.

- Mark Mann, Freelance Writer, May 2014