We spoke with Sylvain Émard about his piece Ce n’est pas la fin du monde (It’s not the end of the world)
Join us for a one night only performance on Saturday Feb 28th at 8pm (followed by a reception and silent auction)
DanceWorks: Ce n’est pas la fin du monde (It’s not the end of the world) showcases male dancers.What inspired you to create a piece performed by only men? Does this work explore gender?
Sylvain Émard: I find working with either an exclusive male or female cast offers a wider range of expression. The audience’s perception is different simply by the fact that the dance is not trapped in a love/seduction mode by seeing men and women sharing the stage. A same sex cast doesn’t exclude that but it is not confined by it.
Without being the main subject of the piece, manhood is certainly an important aspect of it. Because we have in front of us a group of seven men dancing, we, as an audience, watch the dance through a gender point of view. Being a male choreographer, I certainly project myself into the work.
“By using urgency as a key motivation for movement it allowed us, the dancers and me, to access the tension I was looking for”
DW: Your website states, “I am trying to develop dance that is anchored in everyday life, without losing its poetry. I want to concentrate on what is at the very heart of life in our society.” What are some of the processes you use in attempting to achieve this? How do you explore the everyday through aesthetic dance vocabulary?
SÉ: It has to do with a state of mind. I am exploring a body language that is in phase with today’s world. More recently, my concerns have more to do with how we as humans survive while facing the world’s drastic transformation. For example, Fragments – Volume I and Ce n’est pas la fin du monde were both based on the notion of urgency. By using urgency as a key motivation for movement it allowed us, the dancers and me, to access the tension I was looking for.
“I am always looking for the right balance between strength and vulnerability”
DW: You also state that “each performance is necessarily of the moment. It follows that dance must be constantly renewed.” It seems that immediacy is an important aspect of your work. How do you keep things alive and responsive on stage?
SÉ: Dance is a transitory form of art. It is a living art and I like to take advantage of it by allowing myself to make changes if I feel it will serve the piece. I see those changes like a form of dialogue between the dancers and me. As they perform the piece more and more they also infuse the work with their own sensitivity which make me see the piece differently and stimulates me.
Also, I am aware that my work can be very challenging for the dancers. I am always looking for the right balance between strength and vulnerability. Making changes can also contribute to maintain an appropriate degree of presence and awareness on stage.
Saturday February 28, 2015