Review | Crypto: human nature ★★ ½

The well-known and acclaimed performer, Guillaume Côté signs the choreography of Cryptoa work that questions the – often twisted – relationship between man and nature.

Posted at 3:31 p.m.

Iris Gagnon Paradise

Iris Gagnon Paradise
The press

First presented in preview at the Festival des arts de Saint-Sauveur in 2019, Crypto was part of the Danse Danse program in 2020. After many postponements, the play finally comes to life on stage in Théâtre Maisonneuve, after having been through a few cities in the province before.


Guillaume Côté and Greta Hodgkinson incarnate a couple on the loose.

Piece for four dancers – Guillaume Côté herself, as well as Greta Hodgkinson, Natasha Poon Woo and Casia Vengoechea – Crypto has many ambitions. A text by the Canadian author Royce Vavrek, written at the request of the choreographer, meets the composer Mikael Karlsson’s original music as well as the sophisticated visual effects from the Montreal studio Mirari.

The story, inspired by cryptozoology (the search for animals whose existence cannot be proven), gets the air of a fable: a drifting couple seeks redemption who will undergo a great quest: to find this mythical creature “monstrous and magnificent” appearing in human dreams. Wild, this dreamed and now real creature can not be tamed or tamed. The couple will summon a surgeon who, armed with his instruments, will try to give him a human form. An operation that will drain the being of its essence, leading to its rebellion.

With CryptoCôté therefore questions this tendency of man to want to create nature in his image, to submit to it, with the catastrophic consequences it can bring.

adventure on Frankenstein


The visual effects are the work of the Montreal studio Mirari.

The subject of this modern nightmare-like adventure that can evoke Frankenstein Where The little Mermaid, is not uninteresting in itself. The narrative frame presented to the public has the advantage that it is very clear and we understand what it is all about. The text, read by voiceovers with a lot of (too?) Weight, sets the scene. The projections, elaborate and evocative, lead us into this amazing dreamlike universe, which a shadow still hovers over. The music, carried by string instruments and mixed with electronic sounds, creates a disturbing atmosphere where there is a certain melancholy.

The talent as a performer of Guillaume Côté, lead dancer for the National Ballet of Canada and who has danced for the largest companies in the world, is undeniable. However, his choreographic work in this creation – the first in his new company Côté Danse – remains quite conventional, in line with the neoclassical, with some contemporary elements.


The choreography remains quite true to a neo-classical aesthetic.

There are actually a few broken lines here and there, jerky movements, virtuoso flights, graceful pas de deux and the creature’s dislocated distortions – let’s in this regard emphasize the interpretation of Casia Vengoechea, which offers the strongest of the show. That said, the tables follow each other without surprise, sometimes repeated. It’s a shame, because the subject of the play could have opened the door to a more innovative proposal.

The movement, even though it is incessant, often seems to be engulfed by the rest of the scenic elements – the offscreen narrative, the projections, the music, the lighting. It thus empties itself of its substance. We understand the attraction by using words to support a dance production, and some choreographers do it brilliantly. However, there is this danger: when language says everything, the body no longer says anything and loses its evocative power.



At the Maisonneuve Theateruntil 14 May


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