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Review: Laurence Lemieux’s Sinfonia

April 13, 2021 Dancer Laurence Lemieux resting head on right arm while extending left in front of orange backdrop Photo by Jeremy Mimnagh

On Friday April 2 at 8pm the Toronto Mendelssohn Choir presented Sacred Music for a Sacred Space, a concert featuring beautiful choral music by Bach, Schubert and Brahms and exploring themes of grief and sacred space. Offering a much-needed moment of calm and reflection, the music was accompanied by images, dance and a stroll through the forest.

For this special offering Citadel + Compagnie’s artistic director Laurence Lemieux was invited to create and perform “SInfonia”, a new solo work to Bach’s Christ lag in Todesbanden, filmed by Jeremy Mimnagh with lighting design by Simon Rossiter. Read her artistic statement on the work here.

Ken Stephen wrote a beautiful review of Laurence Lemieux’s “Sinfonia”:

The truly remarkable aspect of the cantata was the incorporation of dance, choreographed and performed by Laurence Lemieux.  Abetted by Simon Rossiter’s striking lighting design and Jeremy Mimnagh’s superb videography, Lemieux created stunning images in motion of grief, loss, struggle, and acceptance, flowing smoothly in tandem with the music.

It was the kind of dance performance that, for me, demanded to be viewed several times.  On each viewing, I found that I was being drawn more and more to ponder the impact of Lemieux’s powerful, evocative movements.  Reflection on the meanings and feelings which it aroused began with the startling choice of hard-soled, heeled shoes rather than traditional dance slippers.  As the piece progressed, those shoes became more and more an image of obstacles, of hindrances, of the thousand and one “buts” that we use to stop us from coming to grips with the tragedies of the world around us.

Laurence Lemieux’s choreographic creation was most of all in my mind when I said that this concert could never have happened in a live performance venue.  We needed the close-up impact of a personal video screen to bring ourselves as close to her as possible, to be able to read her facial expressions and fully discern the complexities of her movements.

You can read the full review here.