MEKANIC: fundraiser event held by Danse Danse

RUBBERBANDance Group is proud to be taking part in MEKANIC, the upcoming fundraiser event held by Danse Danse.

Danse Danse is the most important player in the contemporary dance scene in Quebec, fulfilling an essential role in the dance milieu and among Montreal dance fans.

This event – not to be missed under any pretext – will take place on Thursday, May 15, 2014, in the SID LEE studio located at 8 Queen St., Old Montreal, at 8 p.m. sharp.

Victor Quijada is the conceptor of the evening program, in collaboration with the SID LEE collective, who will offer a glimpse of their creation process.

Buy your ticket here.  

Your contributions will support two initiatives at the heart of the Danse Danse mission:

Get Youth into Dance

Started in 2005, this program gives young people the opportunity to see free performances in the Danse Danse series. The aim is to bring them an awareness and an appreciation of contemporary dance and movement. The targeted clientele are adolescents (14 to 17 years old) recruited mainly from among youth in difficulty and/or from low-income backgrounds.

Carte Blanche

Launched in 2006, the Carte Blanche program fosters creation by emerging local choreographers at strategic moments of their careers by offering them residencies and directly investing co-production shares in an artistic production. The objective of fund-raising events is to give artists increased development possibilities that enable them to create new works.

Danse Danse will place part of the donations in an endowment fund in the fund-matching program of the Placement Culture section of the Conseil des arts et des lettres du Québec.

Summer session 2014 @ Domaine Forget

JUNE 29 TO JULY 12 2014

Inspired by the fusion of techniques and styles, RBDG proposes a two-week intensive that maintains solid ballet foundation, yet drives the dancers to be versatile in new contemporary dance tendencies. Participants become shape shifting escape artists, and connect contemporary, classical, and urban practices through a unique hybrid of these forms.

This two week program is specially designed for serious intermediate advanced or professional dance students aged 15 years old or older.

This intensive training session provides young dancers an exceptional opportunity of living a rich and unique experience with internationally renowned dancers.

Le Domaine Forget is first and foremost an International Music and Dance Academy for young students and future professionals. It is recognized internationally for its pedagogical excellence. Nestled in the heights of Charlevoix but only a few steps from the St. Lawrence River, le Domaine Forget offers an exceptional setting conducive to creativity and artistic practice, far from the madding crowd.

Registration procedures:

The Making of Empirical Quotient, Part 2

by Evelyn Reid,

”Who are we, if not measured by our impact on others? That’s who we are! We’re not who we say we are, we’re not who we want to be — we are the sum of the influence and impact that we have, in our lives, on others.” - Neil deGrasse Tyson

I finally had a chance to watch a full run-through of Empirical Quotient during Week 11 of rehearsals, just days before RUBBERBANDance Group premieres the show worldwide November 20, 2013, in Montreal at Place des Arts.

Amazing what two months of practice between six carefully curated dancers can do to change perceptions. When I first saw the troupe rehearse bits and pieces of Victor Quijada’s latest choreography in Week 2 of creation, I found myself looking for Empirical Quotient‘s story. By Week 11, I let go of trying to assign a logical, linear explanation to my observations because I realized a key, crucial detail. There is none.

In Week 2, I thought a love story, however impressionistic, was in the making. But when I saw the full rehearsal in Week 11, I shifted gears. Within the first ten minutes and then again halfway through, I was convinced Empirical Quotient was a deconstructed opera featuring a godhead toying with her minions. That might have something to do with collaborator Jasper “Lil’ Jaz” Gahunia’s eerie score, my favorite one from him yet, in part due to the DJ/composer’s incorporation of voice, a first for Gahunia in the context of his longstanding collaboration with the troupe.

Then I waxed poetic over the various pas de deux and trois and quatre, possibly representing an exploration of North America’s relationship zeitgeist-du-jour, the polyamorous lifestyle. That first-degree analysis lasted all of another ten minutes, replaced by a more elementary interpretation, that of  ”amoebas flirting in a pile of primordial goo,” according to my notes.

A gentleman present for the rehearsal, Seattle-based dancer Matt Drews, shared with me that what he saw was a woman freeing herself of an abusive relationship. I saw it too, once he spelled it out. A few thoughts and two pages of my chicken-scratchings later, I saw something else, an anthropomorphic ”reenactment of the Big Bang followed by the Big Crunch.” After running all of this by Victor, who seemed delighted by my confusion, I shifted gears yet again, struggling to figure out who was the electron and who was the proton in what just had to be a post-contemporary ballet breakdance theatrical interpretation of the everyday atom. Science! Dance! Why not? It’s in the title…

So to spare you yet another stream of consciousness, I’m just gonna come out and say it.

I don’t know what Empirical Quotient is about. Or maybe I do? Armed with a Cheshire cat smile, Victor wouldn’t say if I was close to or completely off the mark. Besides, according to him, there is no story per se. But there are themes. Identity. Nostalgia. Regret.

And emotion. The experience of watching Victor’s handpicked team interpret his unique dance language is a visceral one, with images still haunting me of Empirical Quotient‘s Katherine Cowie pounding her heart as she writhes on the ground, reaching out to Lea Ved, who watches her spasms with concern and yet brutal detachment, moving on to make way for a moment with Lavinia Vago. And seeing the trio of Empirical Quotient‘s leading men – Franklin Luy, James Gregg, Zachary Tang – grapple with each other so explosively, it’s never entirely clear if they’re collaborating or fighting. Are they friends? Or foes?

The one thing that is clear to me is that every action in Empirical Quotient leads to a reaction. A fall leads to a catch. A swipe leads to a block. Even a simple finger point creates an invisible ripple of movement in space that impacts whomever happens to be in its path.

In Empirical Quotient, everyone is affected by everyone. And from my humble observations, there’s no way around it.

The Making of Empirical Quotient, Part 1

by Evelyn Reid, About Montreal

When RUBBERBANDance Group approached me to write about the making of their latest project, Empirical Quotient, I was ecstatic, having felt drawn to the troupe ever since I laid eyes on Hasta la Prόxima, a RUBBERBANDance creation from 2002, back when the company was in its infancy.

I was also mildly terrified. Writing about dance, especially for one who hasn’t seen the inside of a dance studio in years, is one of the hardest things for me to do as a writer. As a wordsmith. How do you put instinct and the movement that arises from it into words? I can barely describe my own creative process when I’m sitting in front of a blank computer screen, poised to make order out of the chaos floating in my jumbled mind, shaping untamed thoughts like a disheveled tree into a tempered bonsai.

Dance creation, and even creation in general, is not a linear, point-A-to-point-B process, much like the uncharted movements characterizing the corporeal language RUBBERBANDANCE founder Victor Quijada has been refining over the last decade. Creation comes in spurts. Bursts. Unexpected ones. Two steps forward. Three steps back. Push. Pull. Stop. Start.

For the purposes of Empirical Quotient, six accomplished performers were handpicked by Quijada: Juilliard graduate Zachary Tang, one of Dance Magazine‘s 25 Dancers to Watch in 2012; YC performance art company creative director Lavinia Vago, her gentle smile and lithe movements melding into Tang’s explosive, sensual grace as if they’d been practising their pas de deux for months, not weeks; Lea Ved, also a Juilliard alum, who during a practice session blew me away with her focussed, in-your-face fluidity; Les Ballets Jazz de Montréal dancer James Gregg, whose playful, boyish virility belies a stage presence only a veteran could have honed; capoeira practitioner and hand-balancing artist Franklin Luy, who grappled with Tang and James coherently, effortlessly; and competitive gymnast turned Juilliard grad turned Hofesh Shechter Company member Katherine Cowie, yet another stage vet and former Ballets Jazz de Montréal dancer, whose pairing with Ved revealed segues and heartfelt sequences seemingly tailor-made for her slender limbs as she dominated the pairing with a few jagged edges here and there, normal if endearing imperfections considering the duo was only into Week 2 of creation.

The story and theme of Empirical Quotient? With its world premiere scheduled for this November 20 at Montreal’s Place des Arts, either/or/both will be revealed in due time. But if RUBBERBANDANCE Group’s previous works are any indication of what’s to come, expect power struggles. Separation. Reunion. Cooperation. Anticipating the needs of the many attempting to reconcile the needs of the few. Or vice versa.

Maisonneuve Danse

We’re very happy to announce our participation in Maisonneuve Danse on September 21, 8 p.m., at Théâtre Maisonneuve. A single performance for the 50th anniversary of Place des Arts will be part of a program that features four other renowned Montreal dance companies (O Vertigo, BJM Danse, Compagnie Marie Chouinard, and Les Grands Ballets). Our contribution will be the exclusive presentation of a short excerpt from our new creation, Empirical Quotient.

Tickets are already on sale here.