THEVARS is a contemporary dance theatre and film ensemble centred around the work of Canadian choreographer Gabreïl Spiegelschrift.

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Young Man Intrigued by the Flight of the Non-Euclidean Fly

Young Man Intrigued by the Flight of the Non-Euclidean Fly - 1992

for solo male dancer and metronome

To the chanting of the surrounding audience, keeping time to the metronomic breaths, 19 year old Gabreïl Spiegelschrift premiered ‘Young Man Intrigued by the Flight of a Non-Euclidean Fly’ (1992) at the gala opening of the Acrobat, in December 1992. Inspired by the same named painting by Max Ernst and the mannequin figures of painter Georgio de Chirico, ‘Young Man’ was part celebratory work of combined western and eastern dance idioms, and part reactionary piece to the conflict between the decoratively obsessive and absolutist environment in some of the Canadian Dance scene during the 1980s. The solo would go on to thrust Gabreïl into the international dance scene and later serve as a significant component in the award winning dance film collaboration, ‘five short movements’ (1993) with director Justin Stephenson.

As explained in his extended bio, young Gabreïl taught himself contemporary dance from pictures and watching films on TVOntario. As a teenager, whilst most of his peers were fans of Baryshnikov, Gabreïl was all about Kazou Ohno and this alternative perspective of dance combined with the cathartic chance to view a performance of Gerhard Bohner's interpretations of the Bauhaus Dances, lead to Gabreïl dropping out of the dance program at The Claude Watson Arts Program he was attending, after 2 months. This was the end of any formal dance training and the starting point of the base movement ideas for ‘Young Man’ as Gabreïl attempted to find a niche within the Canadian Dance Scene. Over the next few years the research from early works and experiments resulted in 13 studies, serendipitously mirroring Euclid's Elements (13 books), inspired by and entitled after Max Ernst's 1947 painting, ‘Young Man Intrigued by the Flight of a Non-Euclidean Fly.’ This painting, featuring the artist's “child's play” technique of dripping paint from a can spun from a rope, initially titled, ‘Abstract Art, Concrete Art’ became an allegory of a young man seeking truth amidst the war of various artistic schools. Along with this, the figurative body forms of painter Georgio de Chirico encouraged more questions of the paradoxes and balances between substance, form and quality.

Boasting a multimillion dollar renovation, the Acrobat (now Pangea, 1221 Bay St. Toronto) gala opening organized by Peter Jenkins, featured a handful of Canadian vanguard performers from Toronto and Montreal, including Kiki Bonbon and Jaymz Bee. Dressed like a school boy and performed within a circular thrust stage, reminiscent of a gladiator pit, Gabreïl performed the solo to his own amplified rhythmic breathing to simplify the set up, as the solo later became subtitled;  for solo dancer and metronome. ‘Young Man’ would go on to have a few intimate performances, however, the solo would be shelved due to the demand of the Circle Ball Fair'93 performances that included the ‘Fire and Water’ (1993) duet with dancer Sonya Biernath, and the second part to ‘Young Man’, ‘Icarus: landed’ (1993), a far more eastern influenced solo.

In August 2004 Gabreïl mounted a shortened version of 8 studies from the original solo for the faculty concert of CAMMAC at Lakefield College, Ontario. The “metronome” was played by conductor Colin Clarke.

technical details

  • created and performed by
    Gabreïl Spiegelschrift
  • costume
    Honey Garlic
  • light
    Gabreïl Spiegelschrift
  • note
  • thanks & dedications
    For Alain Baillergeon – everything you love, everything you despise.
    and David Earle
  • premiere
    1992-12-11 Acrobat Club, Toronto, Canada
  • duration
    20 mins.
  • suited for

photo Antonia Thompson

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