GWDC collaborator, Richard Lee, reflects on our residency in Montréal at MAYDAY Danse with Mélanie Demers
A week after our residency in Montreal, I still feel a little rattled, albeit in a good way. I often feel the physical residue of recent processes in my sleep: involuntary twitches of choreography that jerk me awake, sensations of falling or hurling myself across the floor. I’m getting all of that now, along with an odd sort of softness akin to being ready to either break in to a sprint or collapse into unconsciousness. At least I assume that’s all from the process, and not some weird neurological condition.
This rattled feeling makes sense, given Melanie’s work. It is terrifically engaging for a viewer for the same reason it is terrifically challenging for her interpreters:
- It ricochets between riveting extremes
- It can bounce between densely choreographed movement and improvised chaos; between a casual chat with the audience and operatic levels of drama; between laughter and sobbing. In many ways it reminds me of the best moments of studying Pochinko-style clowning in theatre school. We go pretty dark in this piece, and yet it never stays in one tone.
- It mutates, sometimes smoothly, sometimes abruptly. There are often many tones resonating at once. It was impossible to hold a straight face a number of times throughout rehearsals.
We have a while to let the piece stew in the back of brains before we return to the work and ramp it up to perform for Convergence in November.
How to prepare, beyond reviewing choreography?
Play. Run. Dance without total abandon.
Read the news, feel depressed, dance with more abandon, run some more, make jokes, make art, feel irrelevant, feel scared, make some more art. And mull over something
Melanie said in one of our last rehearsals: “It is not just because we talk about genocide or homophobia or whatever…Talking about it, that’s the easy part. How you move with each other–how you actually deal with one another – that is what makes my work political.”