It was innovative, professional, and all too brief. At the opening of this year's Spring into Dance program at the Heritage Playhouse, March 13, dancer and teacher Sylvain Brochu asked the audience to "disconnect your brain" while watching the contemporary dance performance, in order to feel its power. It was obvious, however, that Brochu was tickled and very proud to present the work of his students during the six brief pieces. Brochu, a graduate of university contemporary dance, is an accomplished choreographer and teacher with strength in interpretation. He credits his yoga practice as the creative source for his dance. Born in Quebec, Brochu evokes a European style and flair favouring the work of choreographer Massimo Agostinelli. In Brochu's solo piece, Marguerite, he displayed the showmanship and footwork of Kurt Browning and the mime ability of Charlie Chaplin with the skill of an experienced dancer. But it was Brochu's students who excited the audience. In Who's the Fool Now? the dancers showed great strength, but the music was the star. It buzzed rapidly through 18 different languages from Creole to Swiss German to gibberish in a new Brochu-choreographed piece for level two performers Cary Davis, Gail Thurber, Andre Sobolewski and Anna White.
Beyond Words, a vehicle for the larger level-three group was dynamic and fluid, but just as the women were warmed up, it was over. Guest performer Sharon Wehner took on a challenging piece in The Passage, portraying a maiden on the eve of her wedding. Wehner is lithe, willowy and a joy to watch. In 1988, at age 27, she was struck from her bicycle fracturing her knee and hand. Nine months later, she made a complete comeback and is still delivering solo performances such as her own new show, Ascend, that opens April 29 on Granville Island.