At one point in the show, a group of performers marched out onto the stage dressed in science fiction helms and suits that glowed under black light. They launched each other into the air using giant bamboo springboards. This was by far one of the most tense acts of the show as it seemed that the performers were just barely able to stop themselves once they had built up momentum.
My favorite performance was the interaction between two trapeze artists. They dangled together from the ceiling, sharing a single hanging rod for support. Their choreography utilized each other's bodies as props. They spun and caught each other just before falls and were constantly in motion and fluidly shifting. In my mind the most incredible aspect of this was that they were telling a love story through their physical motion.
Performances that truly tied Totem together for me were the ones that focused on first nations themes. There were several in which a first nations performer danced on the stage to first nations folk music. He used painted wooden rings to create instantly transforming sculptures that were both abstract and symbolic of different animals.
Shortly after the show began, I realized how technically impressive the performance was. The stage was capable of many movement necessary to reveal different props. Props would often descend from the ceiling for performers to use. Specific parts of the stage were also fully articulated, allowing for transformations that allowed this part of the stage to curl back on itself, slide forward and backward, and raise and lower. The music for Totem was truly unbelievable. It was all live music. It became quickly apparent why the show would have been impossible without live music. Much of the music reacted to the performance, with beats being in-sync with actions on stage. In addition, the first nations folk music was also fantastic. Having seen Totem, I can certainly say that I have never seen anything like it before and could not have asked for a better grand finale to an incredible semester abroad!