RUBBERBANDance Group is known for its creative risk-taking, innovative choreography, and melding of technical expertise and dance prowess with youth inspired movements like hip-hop. The result is a hybrid of physical expression, marrying discipline and tradition, with the sensibility of the street. Their new work, Empirical Quotient, was co-commissioned by Guelph Dance and will be presented on Friday, March 28 at 8pm at River Run Centre.
While they’re in Guelph, the Group is presenting 6 lecture/demonstrations for young audiences through the “Linamar for the Performing Arts” program, reaching a total of 4200 kids. We sat in on their first show this morning and caught up with the kids afterwards.
Choreographer Victor Quijada knows how to hold the attention of a young audience. Going back and forth between snippets of their full-length works and demonstrations of their unique choreographic method, Victor helps the kids to see meaning behind the movement.
Victor asks “Do you like what you see?” The Main Stage Theatre is engulfed in a resounding “YEAHHHH!” “Well for my next experiment, I’m going to need your help”. Hands shoot up, with plenty of volunteers for Victor to choose from.
Victor’s 5 eager volunteers each act out a word – everyone, think, dance, really, amazing – and he helps coach them to add layers to their movement, whether its a wave, a few chest pops, or a turn. Within only a few minutes, we have a short sequence that says, “Everyone think(s) dance (is) really amazing!”
After their final excerpt from Empirical Quotient, Victor has the Group members introduce themselves. An eclectic mix of dancers from Venezuela, the US, Italy, and Vancouver, 3 of whom are Juilliard-trained, help the kids to realize that “you can create new styles of dance with other people” and that “dance styles can be all mixed up”.
This was one teacher’s first-ever dance performance, and she was expecting a full-length piece, but was excited that there was some instruction of the RUBBERBAND Method, as “this was a great way to connect with the kids”.
When I asked about their favourite part, I was excited to hear them use the words that choreographer Victor Quijada used: “threading!”, “freezing!”, “pushing and reacting!”, “the technique with the loopholes!”
Some kids couldn’t put their favourite parts into words, so instead, they showed me! I think we may have inspired more than a few kids to find their own unique style. Dorothy Fisher, a long-time volunteer with Guelph Dance and River Run Centre, pointed out that “when the kids come out re-enacting what they saw, you know you got ’em”.
We would love to get you too! Get your tickets for the full-length performance of Empirical Quotient on Friday, March 28 at 8pm at River Run Centre Box Office: 519-763-3000.