Toronto is one of the world’s most multicultural cities and no stranger to the variety of experiences surrounding immigration. Many of us have an innate understanding of what it means to feel simultaneously at home and displaced.
It is only fitting, then, that U of T Faculty of Music Professor and Toronto composer Christos Hatzis’s eclectic brainchild—christened Displacement—should debut here this Thursday at Harbourfront Centre.
The performance is a collaboration between prominent Canadian artists HCA Dance Theatre Company, choreographer Robert Glumbek, the Penderecki String Quartet, and visual artist Vessna Perunovich. The multimedia show celebrates the immigrant experience in an explosive and powerful expression through theatre, dance, and music.
“We’ve been playing Christos Hatzis’s compositions as concert music,” says Jeremy Bell, U of T Bachelor of Performing Arts alumnus and ten-year Penderecki String Quartet violinist. “The response to the music alone is very strong. It’s very high energy.” Bell is enthusiastic about the quartet’s first collaboration with Hatzis, as well as the multimedia aspect of the show. “We love collaborating with dance - it enriches what we do”
Hatzis developed his complex portrayal of immigration by drawing from his own experience as an immigrant to Canada from Greece, while Glumbek and Perunovich also use personal immigration experience to fuel the show’s heartfelt energy.
The overall statement the show gives on the process of immigration is optimistic, though not fully articulated; there is an omnipresent ambiguity in the performance. “Canada is a society that wants to believe in multiculturalism in everyday life,” says Bell. Displacement asks some of the more complex questions pertaining to our multicultural existence.
The performance is laden with evocative imagery, featuring taught, thick red ribbons intertwining dancers, and at one point, people enclosed in a large metal cage. Bell says that the high point comes at the end of the show, right after a violent section, where an ethereal cello solo is accompanied by classical Indian-sounding light ornamentation.
If ever there was a performance tailored for Torontonians, it would surely be Displacement, exploring a concept that forms one of the crucial pieces of the clockwork of our city.
Displacement, presented as part of Harbourfront Centre's Next-Steps, runs November 18 - 21 at 8pm / November 21 at 2pm at Fleck Dance Theatre (207 Queens Quay West). Tickets are $35 ($30 Students).