Sly Verb—Christopher House’s 2003 production for Toronto Dance Theatre—is one uninterrupted hour of movement drawn from a bottomless well of tradition and clever new ideas. It features Scott Eunson’s interactive set—like huge tumbleweed made of wire sheathed in icy-clear plastic—and Steve Lucas’s lighting, which is often stunning in artistry and boldness. House’s 13 dancers have prodigious flexibility and presence. The piece is so massive that it sometimes spills over the stage into aisles and seats. (For one dancer to show her moves at closer range, she’d need to hop the nearest lap.) Much has been made of the occasional full and partial nudity, but the intimacy with which these dancers, clothed or unclothed, touch themselves and each other—with pleasure, playfulness, cruelty, or scientific detachment—is more to the point. Dance is the art of the body, and House gives us as rich an experience of his dancers’ bodies as we have a right to
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