“The performers are so skilled, and Chambers’ observations so pointed, that in future it’s going to be hard for this viewer to regard dining as anything other than a performance, unconsciously choreographed by the participants.” Alexander Varty, The Georgia Straight
For three years during the development and performance of Family Dinner (May 2013 – February 2015), dancer and choreographer Justine A. Chambers observed her “guests” at the dinner table - archiving their gestures, social etiquette and habitual tendencies, to capture the experiential essence of an otherwise routine activity: the family dinner. The bodies of the performers, themselves seated alongside the audience at the table, became imperfect recording devices for the physical conversations and uniquely individual gestures of each “guest”.
Family Dinner: The Lexicon is the engaging culmination of Chambers’ behavioural research, tightly scored for the stage. All of the collected gestures have been distilled, re-organized and extracted from the immersive dinner performances into a presentation that is at once familiar and exceptional. The work is a re-presentation of each gesticulation, framed as a live catalogue – an archive of a shared movement vocabulary. With memories of dinners past, audiences will recognize the ritual of each raised glass and waving fork as an everyday language of human connection and conversation around a shared dining table. The ultimate dinner and a show.
Justine A. Chambers is a founding member of projet bk, and current artist and residence and associate artist to The Dance Centre in Vancouver. Her interests lie in collaborative creation and re-imagining of dance performance. She is drawn to the movement of all bodies, and is focused on the dances that are already there: the social choreographies present in the everyday.
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