Tuning in to the Right Frequency
A UFO-like constellation of some 30 vintage radios hovers above the stage in Heart As Arena. Receiving broadcasts from transmitters onstage, they form an electromagnetic epicentre where human relationships are expressed as static, silences and love songs. Engaged in a fiery embrace with radio waves as they decode the secret language of the heart, the dancers become homing devices tuning in to the right frequencies, revealing the invisible structure of terrestrial networks, metaphors for the mysteries of love. Electric energy courses through at warp speed, zapping a few victims in passing. Hearts race in breathless excitation, and hearts break. Interference jams reception of the signal. Few end up on the same wavelength.
After juxtaposing live movement with animated projection in Smash Up (FTA, 2008), the Vancouver dancer and choreographer Dana Gingras joined forces with sound designer Anna Friz to choreograph energy, tracing a surprising parallel between the mechanics of human encounter and the mechanics of energy. Physical physics.
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Conquering New Territories
A choreographer and dancer for more than 20 years, Dana Gingras changed the landscape of Canadian dance with her company The Holy Body Tattoo, co-founded with Noam Gagnon in Vancouver in 1993. For almost 15 years they presented works characterized by intensity and demanding movement, and their 1996 piece our brief eternity received a Dora Mavor Moore award for best ensemble performance. Eager to pursue a dialogue with multimedia and to do more work with film, and also to be clear of rising expectations on the part of critics and audiences, in 2006 Dana Gingras founded a parallel company, Animals of Distinction, which soon became her main focus.
Commissioned by and presented at the FTA in 2008, the series of solos and duos entitled Smash Up combines dance and animated film with intelligence and originality. It led to the short films Aurelia and Double Bubble, which were produced by Bravo television, as was the dancer-with-bear duo Dances for Dzama. An associate dance artist at the National Arts Centre of Canada, this ardent film buff also produced the video installation What is Mine is Yours before creating Heart As Arena in 2011 and New Animal for The 605 Collective.
“Together they transmit an eerie, often unsettling score of static and song fragments—a kickass mess of everything from Bellini opera to a wailing flamenco cantaor to hyperspeed Asian pop. There’s a constant searching, a constant attempt to tune in to a nonexistent frequency that lends the show not only a sense of yearning but also of always being off-kilter (…) The overall impression is of a sweaty blur of partnering and flailing, with occasional memorable images breaking through the visual and aural static.”
Janet Smith, Straight.com, October 6th, 2011
“Expect a performance that is all things: dance, theatre, fashion, performance art, sound event, visual art, and cinema. Choreographer, film director, artist, Gingras seeks to stimulate her audience enough to make them aware of the beating of their own hearts.”
Day Helesic, Vancouver Magazine, October 1st, 2011
PRODUCED BY Animals of Distinction
CREATED AND CHOREOGRAPHED BY Dana Gingras
CO-CREATED AND PERFORMED BY Sarah Doucet + Amber Funk Barton + Dana Gingras + Masaharu Imazu + Shay Kuebler + (APPRENTICE) Karen Fennell
TRANSMISSION CONCEPT, INSTALLATION AND COMPOSITION Anna Friz
SET AND LIGHTING DESIGN Mikko Hynninen
DRAMATURGY Ruth Little
ADDITIONAL DRAMATURGY Daniel Canty
COSTUME DESIGN Sarah Doucet
REHEARSAL DIRECTOR Karine Denault
COPRODUCTION Festival TransAmériques + CanDance Canadian Network of Dance Presenters (Toronto) + The Cultch (Vancouver) + Brian Webb Dance Company (Edmonton) + Canada’s National Arts Centre (Ottawa) + Agora de la danse
WITH THE SUPPORT OF Canada Council for the Arts
CREATIVE RESIDENCIES Centennial Theatre (Lennoxville) + Usine C
PRESENTED IN ASSOCIATION WITH Agora de la danse
WRITTEN BY Fabienne Cabado
TRANSLATED BY Neil Kroetsch
Premiered at The Cultch, Vancouver, October 4, 2011
ALL RIGHTS RESERVED / FESTIVAL TRANSAMÉRIQUES