Dance Works Rotterdam makes music with the body
By Mark Kanny
Published: Friday, Feb. 17, 2012
Every art has its medium. Composers create in sound. Choreographers use the body.
Andre Gingras says he has always been fascinated by dance. He is inspired by the danger, beauty and consequences of the body on display.
Three years before becoming artistic director of Dance Works Rotterdam, in the Netherland, Gingras created a work exploring his fascination called "Anatomica III," which debuted in 2007. The Times of London called it "a terrific splurge of vibrant physicality and joie de vivre that sets out to showcase what an amazing miracle the body represents."
Pittsburgh Dance Council will present Dance Works Rotterdam/Andre Gingras performing "Anatomica I" and "Anatomica III" on Saturday at the Byham Theater, Downtown. The event is part of Pittsburgh Cultural Trust's Distinctively Dutch Festival.
Gingras was born and raised just outside Toronto in a French-Canadian family living in an English-speaking environment. The family moved to Montreal when he was 17.
When he graduated from college at 21, he decided it was "now or never" for dance. He went "hard core" in his dance studies -- three years in Toronto and one in New York City, where he stayed four more years as a young professional dancer.
For the past 14 years, he's made Rotterdam his home and lived what he calls "a double-track life. I have my own core group of dancers for my projects. I also have done commissions for large groups such as Netherlands Dance Theatre and the Rambert Dance Company (based in Chiswick, England). Now (as artistic director of Dance Works Rotterdam), in a way, this allows me to unite those two tracks."
Gingras' "Anatomica" project grew out of work he did in 2003 with the Rambert Dance Company. He imagined a three-part series looking at the notion of the body on display, wondering about why that happens and how that happens.
"When I started, I didn't know exactly what the whole triptych would be," he says. "I had some time to think about what other aspects of it could be."
He began with the third part of his project, deciding to "look at this from the perspective of body as object, a slightly disassociated celebrity. The flip side is the body at its most personal and spectacular. That's why this work has, for me, really split into two sections. It begins with a more distant, Warholian, look at the body -- cooler and more objective. How do we strip the meaning out of something• Then we go to a much more joyful look at the subject, how it is personal, spectacular and wondrous. That's where the evening ends."
The program will open with "Anatomica I," the first work Gingras created after taking charge at Dance Works Rotterdam and which was first performed in May 2011.
" 'Anatomica I' starts with sensual, sexual mating dancing. (It's) how animals behave, with the pheromones' drive -- that smell that charges you up," the choreographer says. "It's a less schematic way of looking at all the things that lead us to show the body."
'Anatomica I and III'
Presented by: Dance Works Rotterdam
When: 8 p.m. Saturday
Admission: $19 to $45
Where: Byham Theater, Downtown
Details: 412-456-6666 or www.trustarts.org
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.