Concept, artistic direction, costumes and performance Élian Mata
Performers and creation collaborators Jacqueline van de Geer, Matéo Chauchat, Marianne Gignac-Girard, Jean-Philippe Ung, Naïla Rabel
Artistic adviser Jessica Serli
Lighting designer Hugo Dalphond
Original music O’XL
By exposing the vulnerability but also the strength of naked bodies in FORÊT, I am trying to explore the genesis of human beings and propose a sociological vision, with an anthropological approach, of the state-body where the norm would exist. Following the rhythm of a succession of scenes underlining the inter-social aspect of nudity, I recount the opposing process between body and mind, matter and spirit, shifting from reason to morality. From its original clear state to its actual public controversy, I suddenly felt the need to unfold a reconciliation ground for the audience’s perspective of nudity, for them to become witnesses of the true existence and the physiological diversity of the performers… until the naked body gets banned from society, and clothes eroticize and sexualize the body more than ever. Thus, the organic costumes comes into being and its matter dictates its appearance just as much as the performers’ movement.
Élian Mata has been attracted to visual arts from a young age. In 1997, as he settles in Canada, he founds his company Productions EM. He thus gets interested in different art mediums: music, dance, performance art, visual art. As he stars working on music tour sets, his attraction to organic material shows. He later integrates the Center for Artists at Espaces Émergents under the chairmanship of the art historian Henri Barras. Today, through his company he works as an artistic director, creator and designer. His productions have been presented in Canada and abroad. He is currently working on his most personal project to date, FOREST, a piece where the undressed body mixes with the organic material, where visual art and the performative art merge!
Jacqueline van de Geer settles in Montreal in August 2005. Her hometown, Rotterdam, bombed at two occasions, is marked by the Second World War. Growing up in a rebuilding city has taught her a lot about doing a lot with almost nothing. Some of her inspirations for her creative work are everyday life, Dada and personal memories. Since receiving her immigrant status in Canada, she has developed performances where spectators are invited to participate. The goal is to transform the distance between the artist and the viewer in a meeting where the distance will be almost dissipated.
Born in France, Matéo Chauchat joined the company Les Orteils de Sable (Saint-Étienne, France) directed by choreographer Mireille Barlet early in his carrer. At 18, he integrates École de Danse Contemporaine de Montréal, from which he graduates in 2017. Since then, he has mainly worked with Sarah Dell’Ava and Elian Mata. In parallel with his activities as a performer, he seeks to deepen his artistic sensitivity as a choreographer, where he questions the impact of art on man. He has presented his work different times in various events, including the SOIR Festival.
Marianne Gignac-Girard graduates from École de Danse Contemporaine de Montréal in 2005. Between 2005 and 2008 she works on Cirque du Soleil’s show Love directed by Dominic Champagne and choreographed by Dave St-Pierre. Back in Montreal in 2008 she dances for up-and-coming artists. For the next 5 years, she dances for Ginette Laurin (O Vertigo) in several productions. In the meantime, Marianne teaches Pilates and works as rehearsal director for O Vertigo and others.
Except for taking part in a musical during cégep, Jean-Philippe Ung has no experience in the arts. Despite this, the arts have always attracted him and his passion was enriched through friends evolving in music, visual arts, dance and other forms of expression. In contrast to his professional environment that requires a rational and cartesian mind, the arts have fascinated him for their creative, unknown, dreamlike aspect. If he has consumed culture in abundance as a spectator, when the chance to become an actor of it presented itself, he committed without hesitation. Raising an immense personal challenge, Jean-Philippe also illustrates by his presence in FORÊT the accessibility and the diversity of the piece.
Naïla Rabel is an actress who also studied dance at Collège Montmorency and is currently studying in cinema. Galvanized by environmental protection, the exploitation of women and children in the fashion industry, veganism and minimalism, she shares her convictions on her YouTube channel. Participating in FORÊT was an evidence for her since it deals with diversity, sexuality, raciality, body shapes… With her participation in FORÊT, Naila wants to overcome the fact that her body has often been an obstacle and aims at inspiring overweight people to accept their body and realizing their full potential.
Graduated from LADMMI (2005), Jessica Serli is active on the Montréal scene as a dancer, a choreographer and a rehearsal director. As a performer, she has participated most notably in the projects of Estelle Clareton, Line Nault, Milan Gervais, Andrew Turner, Bouge de là, Audrey Bergeron, Amélie Rajotte, Normand Marcy, Jacques Poulin-Denis and Emmanuel Jouthe. As a rehearsal director and outside eye, she has also collaborated with Annie Gagnon, Ian Yarworski & Philippe Meunier, Floor Ryder and Tonik, Compagnie Bourask and Alan Lake Factori(e) among others. As a choreographer, Jessica has presented -40 Degrés (2005), Entre-Deux (2008), La Fièvre (2013), Petite faille solo (2015) and Faille: Deux corps sur le comptoir (2016-2018).
Hugo Dalphond questions synergy between body, space and light through elaborating and building scenographic devices aimed to initiate meetings. It is principally by making viewers and performers coexist within a same space, and by modulating their perception of that very space that he creates alternative sensorial experiences. This becomes a reason to engage in different co-presence qualities, and thus, gain consciousness of our interactions and rapport with others. Since 2015, he tackles these questions in a PhD which has as per subject light installation and the spatial opportunity it offers to rethink our collective states. As well, he collaborates as light designer and director of scenography on various projects in theatre and dance (Projet Hybris, Daina Ashbee, Collectif La tresse, Andre Pena, Anne-Flore de Rochambeau, Claudia Chan Tak).
Choreographer and performer Dana Dugan
Sound design AndréAnn Cossette
Lighting design Hugo Dalphond
Dramaturgy Andréane Leclerc
Costumes Danica Olders
Voice of reason Angélique Willkie
Transgression. Excessive. Progressive.
Two parts make a whole to emerge as living sculptures of politicized feminine taboos.
Objectification. Dehumanization. Violence.
My sexualized femininity undressed, raw, and exposed.
Aging. To be alive and obsolete is a tough pill to swallow .
My paradox of in-between.
My body emerges as a site of opposition and as a source of political activity that pushes against these subjugations.
Evolution. Self-determination. Transformation.
MEATmarket and (trans)FIGURAtion materialized from dialogues of disobedience with mainstream circus practices and its larger socio-political hegemonies. These pieces serve as a provocation to disorientate and challenge conventional ways of circus performance as well as resist the political forces that devise normalized notions of femininity.
 It Hurts to be Alive and Obsolete: The Aging Woman by: Zoe Moss, Sisterhood is Powerful
Los Angeles native, Dana Dugan is a circus artist, performer, pedagogue, scholar, dramaturg and mother based in Montreal. She was a founding member, programmer, and producer of the Chicago Contemporary Circus Festival and founding member of CirqueOFF. She recently completed her Master’s Degree at Concordia under fellowship researching her circus body as a site for cultivating productive tensions and dialogues through the concept and practice of critical subjective disobedience. Currently, as a doctoral student at Concordia, Dana continues her research and performance of her circus body and its agency for challenging normative authoritarian paradigms. Her work reflects an agenda that advocates for socially conscious performances as well as alternative, queer, feminist, political narratives. Her performances seek to provoke questions not to politicize her body, but to utilize her body to incite commentary on the current political climate.
Hugo Dalphond questions the synergy between body, space and light by elaborating and building scenographic devices made to initiate meetings. It is principally by making spectators and performers coexist within the same space and by modulating their perception of that very space that he creates alternative sensorial experiences. This becomes a reason to engage in different qualities of co-presence, and thus to be made conscious of our interactions and our rapport with others. Since 2015, he tackles these questions in a PhD that takes light installation and the spatial opportunity it offers to rethink our collective states as its subjects. As well, he collaborates as a lighting designer and director of scenography on various projects in theatre and dance (Projet Hybris, Daina Ashbee, Collectif La tresse, Andre Pena, Anne-Flore de Rochambeau, Claudia Chan Tak).
AndréAnn Cossette was born on a city-island called Montreal, but known as Tiotia:ke for the Kanien’kehá:ka and the Anishnaabe. In 2018, she completed, with great distinction, a BFA in Intermedia, at Concordia University. Her work explores the ways in which trauma holds power in our lives. She focuses on the consequences of trauma in our bodies and our psyches, and on the different ways we survive them. Performance art is her preferred medium, in which she often integrates elements of sound and voice, and often sculptural objects, electronics and video. Writing and research play a major role in her process.
Danica Olders is a Montreal based visual artist. From studying textiles and fashion at NSCAD University (2011) and growing up as a painter/drawer, her practice crosses a multi-disciplinary platform that utilizes fiber techniques as well as painting, performance and animation. Olders has worked with numerous musical and visual artists creating costumes, album artwork, music videos, promotional material and clothing design. She has also produced her own clothing label, The Lost City, and has been instrumental in the conception and art direction of various establishments in Montreal such as Le Mal Necessaire and Bar Kabinet designing and producing murals, signage and silk screened wallpaper.