by Amanda Tripp
Photo credit: Myriam Gaumond
One of the great things about living in a city like Montreal is its cultural richness, and the incredible range of artistic experiences available on any given day. This cosmopolitan cliché is exactly how I wound up sitting through an hour of nude male contemporary ballet a few years ago, trying to enjoy a routine that, as far as I could tell, consisted of a lot of jumping up and down on what looked like very painful pointe. Largely, this involved my trying to keep it together so I didn’t let the hilarity of those poor penises get the better of me while keeping my hip-art-scene-face on: needless to say, nobody around me seemed to think it was the least bit funny. The next day, reviews would tell me exactly what a cultural ignoramus I was, raving about flawless lines and all sorts of other things that I admit, I have pretended to both appreciate and understand in the past. It took awhile before I felt ready to brave the Montreal dance scene again, not because I didn’t want to, but because I feared facing the inevitable problem: how’s a girl to keep up with a city that is always so many jetées ahead? But, then I met Geneviève Bolla.
Born and raised in Montreal, Gen has been dancing since the age of 3, and went pro at 11. Blessed with a supportive family and a hell of a backbone, Bolla already knew she would make dance her life, and make her life into dance, a dream she is now making a reality with the success of “Others”, a show performed and produced the company she runs with colleague Émilie Gratton, Evolucidanse. The school friends had a vision of multidisciplinary dance, and to bring their vision to life they formed their very own company in 2007. Thrilled with the chance to bring her own flavour to choreography, Bolla has already launched two shows with Evolucidanse: “Roots” and “Others”. “Others”, which first ran in Montreal this past summer, was so successful that Evolucidanse will be performing a reprisal at NDG’s brand new cultural hot spot Centre Kosa on November 12, 13 and 14 at 8 p.m. You should go, because you will love it, and here’s why.
“Others” traveled largely by word of mouth: I heard about the show through equally dance-naive friends, and we fortified our spirits with well, spirits, before making our way to the front row, ready for anything. But this was no dark and distant theatre, no silent waiting room – this was Sala Rossa in full swing, people happily chatting and milling about, hugging and laughing. Packing the room the way few bands can, “Others” seemed to have attracted a demographic of unlimited variety: from the very chic to the very nervous, the very young to the very, very old. When the lights dimmed, though, I felt that old pang of anxiety in the pit of my front-row stomach – dance had always made me feel vulnerable, like it would expose my insides but leave me feeling somehow left out.
Then, a young guy stepped out on stage, sporting awkward-looking clothes and a telemarketer’s headset. Visibly nervous, he starts babbling about his hobbies, likes, dislikes, cheap philosophies of life and love: he is starting to sweat, cracking lame jokes to a dead room. Shrugging, smiling, shaking – he is quickly replaced by a rush of semi-naked bodies, and we’re off – “Others” doesn’t shy away from the comedy of everyday life. It’s about missed connections, failures of communication, victories of instinct and relation. Sometimes it’s about an animal power of bodies, and sometimes those bodies are talking about the most subtle self-deceptions and misrepresentations. Sometimes they’re in love with their own vulnerability, living with abandon, and sometimes they’re hiding under skin and clothes and paint. “Others” is about me, and you, and everyone you know, getting by and getting hurt and getting loved.
I may not speak a word of dance, but at no point do I feel like I’m not a part of that conversation of bodies. Evolucidanse works with recognizable tools: not just cultivated from an education in dance, but gathered over the course of 23 years in Montreal. That’s because Bolla believes that dance is for everyone – and she doesn’t just talk the talk. For her, dance isn’t just technical, and it’s not just for experts or reviewers, or even the dance community – dance, she tells me, is about life experiences, about human relationships, about loss and change and getting your heart broken. This explains Bolla’s incredibly full life: she also teaches Pilates in her spare time (contact her if you’re looking to develop a nude-dance-worthy bod), and still manages to keep up a full social life. She laughs when I’m amazed at how busy she must be. “How else could I put life in my dance?! I have to have lived things!” Amen.
Try your hand at dance, and check this company out November 12-13-14 (8pm) at Kosa Center (www.kosacentre.org) – 5325 av. Crowley, Montreal, Québec.
15$ students, 20$ general admission.
Want to know more? http://www.evolucidanse.com/index.html
For Pilates contact Gen at firstname.lastname@example.org.