DanceHouse Snaps Back to Live Performance with RUBBERBAND’s Vancouver Premiere of Ever So Slightly

Photo: Marie-Noëlle Pilon

DanceHouse presents the Vancouver premiere of RUBBERBAND’s high-octane hip-hop infused work Ever So Slightly, on stage October 21 to 23, 2021 at 8pm at the Vancouver Playhouse, in strict compliance with provincial health regulations. Choreographed by RUBBERBAND’s Artistic Director Victor Quijada, Ever So Slightly explores humanity’s instinctive behavioural reflexes developed in response to life’s daily aggressions, coupled with our urgent desire for resistance from these constraints.

The Montreal company’s first major work to feature its entire 10-member company of artists, Ever So Slightly’s dynamic choreography will be accompanied by a live electronic soundscape from composer / DJ Jasper Gahunia and award-winning violinist William Lamoureux.

“Among the countless heartbreaks and challenges of the pandemic, cancelling RUBBERBAND’s March 2020 performance was our first. It could not be more fitting then, to mark our return to the stage with the anticipated presentation of this extraordinary Canadian company,” says Jim Smith, Artistic and Executive Director of DanceHouse. “RUBBERBAND’s electrifying energy and explosive athleticism will remind us what is so entirely special, so utterly inimitable about live performance – sweeping us up and connecting us together on an exhilarating journey.”

Photo: Marie-Noëlle Pilon

Ever So Slightly, which premiered in December 2018 at Montreal’s Théâtre Maisonneuve, is Quijada’s meditation on the momentum of change — the many elements that lead to change, and the breaking point that makes either positive or negative shifts possible. Hailed by Le Devoir as “brilliantly rendered,” the work was recognized as a finalist at the prestigious Grand Prix du Conseil des arts de Montréal in 2019.

The work begins with the company’s dancers lying face down on an unadorned black set. As tension mounts, movement slowly ripples through the pack as the dancers bubble up, one at a time, in a reflexive chain reaction. Through innovative partnering, staccato flashes of fiery red and stark white lighting, and powerful, urgent movement, the dancers fight their own instincts, stripping away their constraining boiler suit uniforms on the path towards emotional freedom and transformative enlightenment.

Ever So Slightly features an original soundtrack composed and performed live on stage by Gahunia, RUBBERBAND’s longtime collaborative partner, an established TV and film composer, and resident DJ for hip-hop artist K-OS. Joining Gahunia on stage is virtuoso violinist William Lamoureux. The duo imbues the work with a pulsing soundscape: an eclectic mix of esoteric electronica, breakbeats, and vintage sampling. Gahunia and Lamoureux are fixtures of the set, performing from risers constructed on the right side of the stage.

Photo: Marie-Noëlle Pilon

Photo: Marie-Noëlle Pilon

Quijada grew up performing in hip-hop clubs of his native Los Angeles and later embarked on a professional dance career with acclaimed companies Twyla Tharp Dance, Ballet Tech, and Les Grands Ballets Canadiens de Montréal. In 2002, he founded RUBBERBAND as a vehicle to fuse the form and rigour of contemporary and classical ballet with the ideology and movement vocabulary of hip-hop culture. Since then, Quijada has created 14 touring works for RUBBERBAND and developed the RUBBERBAND Method — a professional training program that prepares dancers for the choreographic requirements of the company. He has choreographed for Hubbard Street Dance and Pacific Northwest Ballet, and also worked as a choreographer, director, and dramaturg for award-winning films and music videos. In 2006, he collaborated with internationally acclaimed choreographer Crystal Pite on Kidd Pivot’s Lost Action. Quijada is the recipient of numerous accolades, including the Cultural Diversity Award at the 2017 Prix de la Danse de Montréal, and the Princess Grace Award (2010) and Works in Progress Residency Award (2016) from the Princess Grace Foundation-USA, among others.

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