by Paula Citron
Windsor-based choreographer Gina Lori Riley produces works that mirror the socio-political statements of German Expressionism. The theme is apparent right from the start, and the raw, earthy set of physical images that follow reinforce that theme over and over. Her work might seem simplistic, or even dated – but, as humankind is doomed to repeat its mistakes, any piece that talks about man-made catastrophes and the life force to survive them will always find a place in the arts.
Riley’s Vox Animae begins before the audience enters the drapery-enclosed space and ends after the audience has left. Her eight performers sing, act and move their way through a stunning collage of transformations that change from the benign to the sinister before our eyes. People helping people suddenly becoming armies of oppression, for example.
Riley makes no attempt at subtlety, but she also never forgets humour. Her work wears her heart on its sleeve which gives Vox Animae its integrity.
From the Young Centre, I’m Paula Citron, arts reviewer for CLASSICAL 96.3 FM.