It’s in our DNA to be together, to create, to share, to dream, not solely as artists, but as human beings. Theaters everywhere have closed for several weeks. Social distancing is in order and we are adjusting to new normals that we’d hoped would be fleeting but seem less and less so. We don’t know what the Fall will bring or what the whole of our next season will look like.
This is my first year as artistic director of Danse-Cité. I’ve spent it imagining, learning, dreaming, talking, meeting, sharing, ruminating. And then, poof, everything is frozen. A vertigo has set in and time no longer has the same thickness. At first, it was a sense of urgency: the urgency of cancellations, postponements, then astonishment and a desire to save as much as possible. Today, it is a sense of contemplation.
I love the togetherness of dance and the experiences we get to live through it. Dance lives in the relationship between the dancer and the audience and also in the relationship of the spectators to each other- the whole experience. So yes, we use this time to review our methods of creation and to support artists to find new ways to present what they’ve dreamt up and have been working on for months, if not years. And yes, we need to address and integrate the accessibility potentials that the current crisis has further highlighted. And also and above all, we need to imagine and prepare a return to the stage experience. The live arts are essential and will not so quickly fade away. I can’t wait to go to the theater even if the parameters have to be redesigned. The social scope and the poetic and political potential of performing arts, of dance, seem to me, again and again, the very things we must preserve and defend, tooth and nail, with resilience and creativity, and with an imagination that’s only broadened by current events.
So we continue, we stay present.
Danse-Cité is currently working with Art Circulation with two choreographic artists, Eduardo Ruiz Vergara and Helen Simard, whose premiere of Papillon will be presented (hopefully…) this fall, in the next season of Danse-Cité. Eduardo’s work, El silencio de las cosas presentes, is an artistic reflection on touch and pain, an exploration of the physical boundaries of the body which is articulated like a polyphonic song, both disconcerting and familiar. That of Helen Simard, Papillon, combines the aesthetics of urban and contemporary dance and juxtaposes three solos and live experimental music in a complex trio that explores the fine lines between order and disorder. I’ll end here by leaving them the last words, words written a few months ago, but which seem even more current today:
“Together, we have created a place where sensitivity and sensory wanderings have all the space to develop and mutate. What interests me is to open up, to set up a meeting, exchange and knowledge space around these questions: What are the issues related to proximity? How strong is contextualized touch in a culture?“ – Eduardo Ruiz Vergara
(Performers: Sophie Levasseur, Marie Mougeolle, Eduardo Ruiz Vergara)
“ With PAPILLON, I’m interested in exploring how my movement signature can be worked into the expression of a unique, imagined collective body or identity that exists between myself and the 3 interpreters, Nindy Banks, Victoria Mackenzie and Mecdy Jean-Pierre : to recognize myself in their dancing, while simultaneously recognizing the space that the dancer occupies in me. What can we recognize in the chaotic, in a world governed by unpredictability?“ – Helen Simard