The Dancing Beast – Interview with Jen Robichaud

Larchaud Dance Project presents

A DanceWorks CoWorks Series Event

Elegant Beast

May 30, 31 June 1 & 2, 2012, 8pm

Theatre Passe Muraille, 16 Ryerson Ave


Interview by Lucy Rupert

Lucy Rupert: What is Elegant Beast all about?

Jen Robichaud: On the surface, Elegant Beast is about an accident victim in intensive care, and a relentless, passionate patient of the psych ward with a calling to sculpt protective monsters.   If you dig deeper, the production is an exploration of the fine line between memory, desire, sanity, and the idea that “the world moves for love.”

LR: What do you hope audiences will experience/take away from seeing the show?  

JR: The desire to believe in the infinite depth of one’s soul.

LR: I know that you started with Andrew Davidson’s novel “The Gargoyle” as inspiration; how has this point of departure evolved over the creative process?  

JR: I definitely wouldn’t call Elegant Beast an adaptation. I was planning to investigate if memory of an emotion can ignite unprecedented change and if a soul can hold onto memories through different lifetimes [inspired by the novel’s themes].  Although some of this still resonates in the final work, I think “The Gargoyle” has more so influenced the characters of the show, bringing a new energy to the choreography and execution of movement.

LR: How do you approach the elements of fusion in your work?

JR: I think that the word fusion is a term that is now very popular for describing contemporary dance or for choreographers to use to describe their work, when in essence A LOT of dance has always been fusion.

I choose collaborators that I find inspiring, interesting, and who have something that I am in awe of or that challenges me. This naturally leads to Larchaud Dance Project being comprised of artists who are incredibly different, and both my co-choreographer and myself play off of everyone’s individual talents.  For Elegant Beast we decided to experiment with the aesthetics and energy of krumping because it so easily lends itself to the varying degrees of reality and sanity, and to the idea of “beast” which are all explored in the piece.

LR: Do you consider your work narrative or character-based?

JR: Like many artists, I feel that my work, any work, should communicate something to its audience.   I also think that most work, whether abstract or narrative, asks of both the audience and the performers the temporary acceptance of events or characters that would ordinarily be seen as incredible. We work with dramaturge Brandy Leary to evolve characters and narrative all to support the suspension of this disbelief.

This interview was edited for content and length.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s