A former CMC dancer on Orpheus and Eurydice Oct 19, 2008
Marie Chouinard creates universes that unto themselves. When I first saw the company perform many years ago, I was struck by the completeness of her vision, by the absolute other reality she created. In the years when I worked with Marie as an “interprete, ” I learned that that otherworldliness is not a faÃ§ade.
When I first saw Marie’s Le Sacre du Printemps, I knew that I had been challenged. Marie’s Sacre is a masterpiece and I never grew tired of performing this work. It changed me as her work changes anyone who comes into contact with it. The power in Marie’s work flows from the demands she makes of her dancers. There is little “choreography ” in her work. A gesture or a few shapes strung together constitutes her set material, but as we saw in Orpheus and Eurydice, her dancers are working very hard. Marie demands a level of commitment from her dancers that is unlike any other choreographer. Working a-rhythmically with the spine and voice, her dancers generate a vocabulary that is at once both spontaneous and uniquely Marie. As a performer, this was a most gratifying gift. Performing Marie’s work I felt like a an artist for the first time although I had a long impressive list by the time I moved to Montreal. clMarie created a company of solo performance artists, like herself.
Orpheus and Eurydice does look familiar to me at moments. I recognize motifs, makeup, and manipulations from other works. For the Marie Chouinard “virgin, ” I won’t point them out but will leave you with the unnecessary notion that this new work is closely in line with her others. What I will also share is that even though she has not reinvented the wheel this time, she continues to hold open a unique doorway to an energetic, kinesthetic power that is found in all of her work.
When Marie began creating work, her colleagues begged her to call it dance. She was not disposed to put her unique creations in any category, but by placing herself within the world of dance, she has changed the genre. These visions seem to reflect our own reality with daring questions like: Why are you so closed down? Why are you so uptight? What’s wrong with being downright horny?
As a performer, leaving Marie was difficult. I loved the fully empowered, openness that she, and she alone, demanded of me. I also missed creating the catalytic energy her work unleashed into the world. I’m so thankful to have basked in her presence once again at OtB this weekend.