by Paula Citron.
Princess, Infanta, Queen
Vancouver’s Dancing on the Edge Festival
Choreographed by Lola MacLaughlin
Performed by Susan Elliott
Firehall Arts Centre
Vancouver’s Dancing on the Edge Festival is celebrating its 20th anniversary. Lola MacLaughlin is one of the Edge’s original participants. She premiered an excerpt from Princess, Infanta, Queen performed by Susan Elliott, one of this country’s best dancers.
As the piece begins, Elliott is standing in voluminous petticoats, while two stage hands put on her blue overdress. Like Velasquez’s painting of Infanta Margarita, her hair has a side part and side ribbon. The score uses Spanish period music.
What follows is a fascinating dance that conveys boredom, resignation, frustration, desire and anger all at the same time. Elliott never changes her bland public face throughout, and the glory of MacLaughlin’s choreography is that the body language says all, whether in the violent manner the dancer swishes her skirts, the fierce, sudden outthrusts of limbs, the wild turns, or the sudden sinking down into billowing skirts.
I certainly hope to see the completed full-length work one day because the excerpt is compelling.