Playful conceptualities

Revitalizing neo-conceptual art for us with (satirical) fun and (serious) games

MARCH 16. 17. 18 | 7:30 PM

MARCH 19 | 4 PM

Facing away from that which is coming

Andréa de Keijzer & Erin Robinsong / Je suis Julio

35 minutes

Welcome to Andréa and Erin’s laboratory of faces. This duet, performed by Esther Rousseau-Morin and Nathan Yaffe invites us to observe action and reaction as it transforms anticipation, fear, agony, cruelty, tenderness, mischief, disgust, relief, shock. The rules of the game: the performers take turns inventing and escalating strategies to give the other an experience through touch, sound, objects and substances. Using movement, images and action, a corporal relationship develops as the performers trade power. Risking trust and giving us their faces, two nervous systems are laid bare. Will it awaken ours?

Choreographers Andréa de Keijzer, Erin Robinsong in collaboration with the interpreters and Nicolas Labelle.

Dramaturge Hanna Sybille Muller

Production Je suis Julio

Performers Nathan Yaffe, Esther Rousseau-Morin

Lighting design Paul Chambers

Supported by MAI (Montréal, arts interculturels) and Montréal Danse Choreographic Workshop

In December 2015, we participated in Montreal Danse’s Choreographic workshop. During that week of choreographic research, under the guidance of Kathy Casey and Larry Lavender, we worked with dancers Nicolas Labelle and Esther Rousseau-Morin. From that intense time of serious play emerged a game of trading power.

In this game, two performers take turns giving each other an experience (starting with scaring, then eventually, moving on to more tender, more abstract types of experiences and movement). Each scaring/experience technique becomes a representation of a way power is shared or not shared, a way a body is colonized, a way a body resists, a way a body waits to be colonized. Through game and ludic action, layers of human history emerge, transform and are transmitted to the audience in a visceral and exhilarating manner. So far the faces of the performers waiting have fascinated us as well as the evolving strategies of the game, the unrehearsed rule breaking and the intensity of the anticipation of something you can see coming.

This is the first time that we have worked on a one-idea piece, meaning that there is one activity that repeats and evolves. Our previous works have been a complex mesh of images, narratives, movement and interactions; often pieces that have been artistically maximalist. We are taking a risk to go into a new direction, into more minimalist choreography and construction of a work. Though nervous, we are also excited to be working with simplicity and clarity and for this opportunity to learn something new about ourselves as creators, as collaborators and the craft of performance making. We are interested to see what emerges when we follow this one idea all the way to the end.

Our creative research has focused so far around strategy and evolving strategy, anticipation, rule breaking, heightened states, shared sensation, learning about fear, startle technology, game as performance, nervous system activation of both performer and audience and fight or flight scenario without fight or flight response. There is a level of informal play on behalf of the performers, where they are free to react naturally to the evolving experiences. We also plan to research various props that will be available for the performers to use.

We will continue our research in the summer and fall of 2016. We will be working with Hanna Sybille Müller as our mentor and dramaturge and together we will decide the cast for this work. Together with the dancers, we will continue to distill the rules of the game, the dramaturgical arc of the piece and the text that will accompany the work at the end. The current structure we envision is a 30-minute piece followed by 5 minutes of a text.

As we enter this part of the creation process our research questions are:
-What would it look like if we gave each other power?
-What if power trades hands more often?
-What is it like to watch strategies evolve, fail and succeed?
-Can this game be useful for modeling large-scale problems and power dynamics?
-How are human nature and states transmitted at their most fundamental level?
-Can you find freedom within the rules?
-How and when is it necessary to break rules?
-How do the rules of the game evolve?

We see this performance as a laboratory of human emotion, reaction, instinct, ingenuity, strategy, fear and anticipation. The audience’s mirror neurons fire as they participate empathically from their seats. This is a conceptual game of movement, emotion and body experience, it cannot be the same twice.

Andréa de Keijzer is a performance, photography and video artist born in Mexico City, raised in Costa Rica and Toronto and currently living in Montréal. Recent projects include This, myself, one after another (2015), This ritual is not an accident (2015) and Ozone Tear, Nuclear Thyroid (2013-2015). Her work has been presented at the MAI, Dance made in Canada, HATCH 2013, Art Spin, Dancemakers, Nuit Blanche Toronto, Festival International du Film sur l’Art, Quartiers Danses, The 3rd Floor Projects, Festival Grado Cero and DanzaFlux. In 2012, she co-founded Je suis Julio a creation and production platform. She has been collaborating with Erin Robinsong since 2010; Facing away from that which is coming is their 6th collaboration. She is currently studying ceramics and working as a doula & birth photographer.

Erin Robinsong is a poet, interdisciplinary artist and the author of Rag Cosmology (BookThug, spring 2017). Her work has appeared in numerous journals and anthologies, and onstage with This ritual is not an accident (QC/ON), Osculations on a Theory of Islands (AB/CA), In Conversation (UK), and others. With longtime collaborator Andréa de Keijzer, she is featured in Mike Hoolboom’s film We Make Couples, a Marxist love story. She has driven horse carriages, sold knives, and restored books for a living, and currently works as an editor. Erin is originally from Cortes Island.

Promoted in 2007 from the School of Contemporary Dance in Montreal (EDCM), Esther Rousseau-Morin has since collaborated with several choreographers such as Séverine Lombardo, Dany Desjardins, Jacques Poulin-Denis, Rosy Simas, Hélène Langevin, Harold Rhéaume and Danièle Desnoyers. She is currently working with Alan Lake, Estelle Clareton, Montreal Danse, Caroline Laurin-Beaucage, Marie Béland, Sylvain Lafortune, Olivier Kemeid, Noam Gagnon and Dana Gingras. Moreover, Esther continues her development by participating in several training workshop such as Transformation Dance, Springboard Dance, Bates Dance Festival and ImPulsTanz in Vienna for which she received a scholarship from the Canada Council for the Arts in 2012. As teacher, she acts as an assistant to Sylvain Lafortune partnering classes.

Born and raised in Massachusetts, Nathan Yaffe has established an extensive artistic presence in Canada. His choreography has been presented in New York, Los Angeles, Ottawa and Montreal. His last work, The Johnsons, was presented by Tangente as part of Danses Buissonières_Classe 2014. The_Johnsons 00:11:56, a short dance-film he created in LA was presented at Cinedans in Amsterdam, FIFA in Montreal, and Dancemakers Film Festival in Toronto. The_Johnsons 00:21:51, an interactive video-dance installation was presented in 2016 at the Darling Foundry, Eastern Bloc and Monument National. His choreography was recently featured in the short film, Welcome Back. Nathan continues to perform with dance and theatre artists on both sides of the border, collaborating closely with Peter Boneham (Le Groupe Dance Lab), Hélène Langevin (Bouge de Là), Katie Ward, Sasha Kleinplatz, Peter Trosztmer, Audrée Juteau, Dorian Nuskind-Oder, Sonya Stefan, and Mollye Maxner. He was nominated for a Best Supporting Actor award for the role he created in Mollye Maxner’s play Occupied Territories (2015). Nathan received his BFA in Dance from Purchase College in New York. During that time, he also trained at Codarts in Rotterdam.

Hanna Sybille Müller is a choreographer and a dancer. She studied dance at the Rotterdamse Dansacademie and received a diploma in media studies at the Berlin University of the Arts in 2012. From 2009 to 2013 she worked as a researcher at the excellence cluster Languages of Emotion at the Freie Universität Berlin. As a choreographer she has created numerous works that were presented internationally. As a performer she collaborated with Eva Meyer-Keller, Isabelle Schad, deufert&plischke, and s-h-i-f-t-s among others. She recently participated in the 2016 edition of the Third Floor Residency at Usine C.

Paul Chambers is a Montréal based set & lighting designer. Collaborating on new dance works has always been a priority for him. Teaching workshops has also been an important part of his development as an artist and mentor. At Studio 303 he teaches a yearly lighting design workshop for artists, in addition to teaching aspects of production in dance at Concordia University. From 2008 until 2013 Paul is Technical Director at Tangente.  In 2013 along with fellow designer & educator David-Alexandre Chabot, they inaugurate CHA a design collective aimed at creating & sharing design based works with artists from different disciplines. Recent design credits include work with Public Recordings, 10 Gates Dancing, Audrey Bergeron, Dorian Nuskind-Oder,  Benjamin Kamino, Dany Desjardins, Katie Ward, Susanna Hood, Sasha Kleinplatz, Antonija Livingstone, Adam Kinner, Maria Kefirova & Hanako Hoshimi Caines, Thierry Huard, Parts & Labour Dance, Lara Kramer Dance, & Destins Croisés.

Tangente conceptuelle: neo-contemporary duet, pour un requiem intellectuel

Claudia Chan Tak & Louis-Elyan Martin

30 minutes

So many of us remember with delight their previous sendups of nudity and money in the contemporary dance world. Completing this rebellious and hilarious trilogy on hot topics in dance, this time Claudia and Louis-Elyan attack the weighty subject of “conceptual art.” In other words, how can you do and say a lot without really saying anything in the end? Nothing will be sacred! Taboos, stereotypes, and the fourth wall, will be broken! They will thoroughly explore the wonderful world of over-intellectualization in the art world. As well-versed dance graduates, these two dance satirists know their subject only two well: she also holds degree in Cyber-Arts, he in English Literature. There will be lots of talking and movement, metaphors and merchandising. In fact they have promised us that there will be too much of everything: concepts, words, emotions, silences, (nudity), solos and duets. Cultures will be appropriated, inappropriately.

Co-choreographers and performers Claudia Chan Tak, Louis-Elyan Martin

Performer Sébastien Provencher

Lighting designer Hugo Dalphond

This third creation closes our saga with a last chapter in the same vein as the two previous episodes in which the contemporary dance world hot topics are tackled. We here put an end to our experimental explorations and protest desires, that have been driving us as new choreographers. This time, we wish to celebrate great artistic concepts in a grand mass that we named ‘Tangente conceptuelle’!

Being conceptual, what does it mean ? How to make our creation conceptually stronger to validate their quality ? We wish to explore ‘Over intellectualized’ Art, in which the conceptual strengh doesn’t always shows on stage. In the end, the goal of this creation is to bring on stage, in word and movement, the best way to say a lot without saying anything.

Of course in this piece, as in the two previous ones, we are never accusing. We are authentic but never slanderous. Rather sharp tongued, we are moving away from irony to give space to a more caustic tone.

Claudia Chan Tak is a multi disciplinary artist based in Montréal. She graduated from Concordia University in 2009 with a BA in Intermedia/CyberArts. Three years later, she received the William Douglas grant for her BA in Contemporary Dance at UQAM. She recently finished a thesis/creation part of her MA degree questioning links being made between documentary, cultural identity and dance. Her pluridisciplinary formation is at the image of her practice which develops in many art disciplines. Her choreographies were presented in many festivals, such as OFFTA, Zone Homa, Dance Matters et Edgy Women. She created in 2013 and in 2015 with Louis-Elyan Martin two duos presented at Tangente which were about the clichés of their contemporary dance community and art practice. She also collaborated in other projects such as Schmuttland (Les soeurs Schmutt) and takes part in the improvisation collective Body Slam.

Born in France, Louis-Elyan Martin obtained a Master Degree in English literature and history in 2008. Eager to pursue his passion for dance, he starts the same year a bachelor in contemporary dance at Concordia University. He pursues his training at l’École de danse contemporaine de Montréal, and graduates in 2012. In 2011 while in Tel-Aviv, Israel, during the summer intensive he is initiated to the GaGa technique with the Batsheva Dance Company and starts to develop a real interest for this body language. Throughout his artistic growth he gets closer to dance theatre and performance art, which he especially affectionate. He dances for the company O’Vertigo from 2012 to 2015. In 2016 He joins the company Destins Croisés, company Holy Body Tattoo and Alan Lake’s Factorie. In 2017 he joins company Le Carré des Lombes, Caroline Laurin Beaucage for Montréal Danse’s new creation and Louise Bédard Danse Company. He choreoregraphes 3 co-creations along with Claudia Chan Tak for Tangente, Offta and Zone homa. His first full length piece ‘IDdouble’ was presented in various festivals in Montréal, in Maisons de la culture and in France. He premiered his new creation ‘Titanomachie’ at 5ieme salle in 2016.

Sébastien Provencher completed his degree in contemporary dance at the University du Québec à Montréal, receiving the William Douglas grant during that time. He has since danced in Montreal for choreographers such as Emmanuel Jouthe, Sasha Kleinplatz, Manon Oligny, George Stamos and Helen Simard. He is also working in Toronto as a member of Social Growl Dance company, directed by Riley Sims. As an emerging choreographer, his work has been presented at Quartiers Danses, Zone Homa and Vue sur la Relève in Montreal, Dance Matters in Toronto and Festival Auteurs de Troubles in France. His most recent creation, Children of Chemistry, a piece for five male dancers presented at Quartiers Danses has recently won the prize “Coup de Coeur” from the public. Using a multidisciplinary approach in his creations, Sébastien is interested in the notion of presence and authenticity of the dancer in the context of performance.

Hugo Dalphond works with the body, space and light in theatre, dance, photography and installation. He explores influences of dynamics and mechanisms created by stage plasticity on the performers and audience bodies. In dance he collaborated with choreographers such as Anne Flore de Rochambeau, Liliane Moussa and collective For Fauve. He just started his Doctorat in Theatre at UQAM questionning relation of the piece and the audience through reorganisation of space. The Doctorat/creation aim to dissect the transdisciplinary creative gesture happening during a creation process of an immersive and performative installation.

Human Synthesizer

Katie Ward / Compagnie Katie Ward

30 minutes

While performing playfully in the debris of objects, substances and movements that are left over from the two previous performances, Katie will work her alchemy to render banal phenomena wonderful or, insipid. The artist calls the genre “spontaneous navigation.” It is through imagination that she seeks to explain the world around us and give new/extra meanings to elements that have been previously used in other contexts. Each presentation, each moment, will arise from impulse. And so she creates opportunities for intuitive leaps of perceptual change by way of gesture, location and imagery. It is through a process of accumulating experiences together that we will be brought into “a state of open-focus” activating moments of discovery. It’s a matter of being real.

Choreographer and performer Katie Ward / Compagnie Katie Ward

Lighting designer Paul Chambers

Sound Michael Feuerstack

Conversations with Krõõt Juurak, Nienke Terpsma, Pedro Rodrigues Manuel, Konstantina Georgelou, João Da Silva, Suzan Polat, Giorgos Kritharas

I put things together that were previously not together. This is the work of the performance – a live material experiment, a source for generating knowledge, a collection of moments of realization and discovery. I stay open to my environment and respond to what is happening in the moment, incorporating this into what I do. I’m interested in how the details of the things around us combine. I work from the vastness of material and form that surrounds me. I refuse to narrow my approach. I want to construct in continuity with what came before. Persistent and wilful, even bratty, my vectors of curiosity guide my navigations. To be real asks for surrender to the performance-in-creation: to see, to hear, to respond to things that are noticed… to react to mistakes that happen or to perceived coincidence. This process creates an accumulation of possibilities for surprise and insight, where we constantly adjust and sharpen our perceptive capacities.

Katie Ward’s work uses devised blind and imaginative systems of navigation.  It is an investigation of perceptions around being, becoming and what is. Recently Katie has presented several new works including: Infinity Doughnut an ensemble work that treats interconnection; Matière Grise, a relational solo piece created in collaboration and performed by Peter James commissioned by the Deuxième Porte à Gauche; and Reality a duet performed by herself and thereminist John Tielli. The works operate by connecting things that are in the performance space as a way to examine and develop realism in performance. Infinity Doughnut was awarded creation residencies at Dance4 – (UK) and in Créteil (FR).  Her creation, Rock Steady 2012, was created and performed in Montreal, in France and in the UK. Katie lives and works in Montreal. She is currently pursuing a study program entitled Master of Theatre practises in Arnhem Netherlands.

Paul Chambers is a Montréal based set & lighting designer. Collaborating on new dance works has always been a priority for him. Teaching workshops has also been an important part of his development as an artist and mentor. At Studio 303 he teaches a yearly lighting design workshop for artists, in addition to teaching aspects of production in dance at Concordia University. From 2008 until 2013 Paul is Technical Director at Tangente.  In 2013 along with fellow designer & educator David-Alexandre Chabot, they inaugurate CHA a design collective aimed at creating & sharing design based works with artists from different disciplines. Recent design credits include work with Public Recordings, 10 Gates Dancing, Audrey Bergeron, Dorian Nuskind-Oder,  Benjamin Kamino, Dany Desjardins, Katie Ward, Susanna Hood, Sasha Kleinplatz, Antonija Livingstone, Adam Kinner, Maria Kefirova & Hanako Hoshimi Caines, Thierry Huard, Parts & Labour Dance, Lara Kramer Dance, & Destins Croisés.

Michael Feuerstack is a Montreal based musician, songwriter, singer, record producer and sound artist. Aside from recording and touring his music under his own name (and formerly as Snailhouse), he can also be heard playing guitar and steel guitar with The Luyas and Bell Orchestre, as well as a long list of other ongoing collaborations. Michael is a two time Juno Award winner: once in 2000 for Julie Doiron & the Wooden Stars (of which Michael was a member) and once in 2008 for Bell Orchestre’s As Seen Through Windows. Working on the other side of the glass, Michael has lent his skills as a producer to albums by Paper Beat Scissors, Bent By Elephants and Camille Delean. Michael has also contributed composition and sound design for film, dance and multi-media projects. He is a frequent collaborator with choreographer Katie Ward.