For over 20 years NAC Dance has been supporting the astonishing work of Dana Gingras, a fearless artist with a truly limitless imagination. Her newest piece Frontera, supported by the NAC Creation Fund, brings together scenography wizards United Visual Artists, post-rock mavericks Fly Pan Am, and a stunning ensemble of dancers in a raw, supercharged multi-media spectacle. Frontera explores the notion of physical and metaphorical boundaries; an apt subject for someone who has consistently pushed and redefined the boundaries of the art form. Enjoy!
FRONTERA (border, frontier): a real or imaginary dividing line; the extreme limit of understanding in a particular area.
“Borders run across land but through people. On maps, they appear as fine one-dimensional lines, whereas on the ground they have many dimensions. Borderlands are boundaries in depth, space around a line, the place where state meets society, and where no one ever feels at home.”
– Zartman, I William, ed., Understanding Life in the Borderlands: Boundaries in Depth and in Motion
In an era of aggressive nationalism and corporate mass surveillance, the human body has never been rendered so visible, subject to increasingly invasive forms of industrial-scale oversight and processing.
Borders are boundaries, but they’re also processes, liminal spaces where despair, desire and neoliberal economic imperatives meet the obscure(d) operations of power. Surveillance technologies represent an advancing frontier of knowledge and control, monitoring movement, defining identities and gathering data. Increasingly, the border moves with the body, and seeks to organise and orchestrate its passage through the world.
In an audio-synchronised field of light and projection created by United Visual Artists (UVA) and with live music by Fly Pan Am and field recordings by Godspeed’s Dave Bryant, FRONTERA’s nine dancers navigate spaces of inclusion and exclusion; their bodies mapped in high resolution, their destinies unresolved.
As the public and private realms are consumed by monitoring technologies and tests of legitimacy, what space remains for the unruly, ungovernable body?
Thank you to the following for their openness, generosity and willingness to be interviewed:
Slovenian photographer/Photographe slovène
Activist from El Paso, Texas, U.S.
Radio journalist from Saint Petersburg, Russia
Built one of the first tunnels between East and West Berlin from Berlin, Germany
Photographer from Dublin, Ireland
François Le Blond
Writer from Paris, France, active in gay liberation movement in the 70’s
Former doctor of psychoanalysis from Rome, Italy
Video editor and media designer born and raised in México. He lives in Canada
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Justin Evans, Beryl & Lionel Gingras, Karine Denault, Claudia Fancello, Laurie-Anne Langis, Sonya Stefan, Cathy Levy, Pierre Des Marais, Caroline Ohrt, Wesley Enoch, Oliver Baurhenn, Joyce Rosario, Clothilde Cardinal, Francine Bernier, Constellation Records, Canada Council for the Arts & Conseil des Arts et des Lettres du Québec.
And a special thank you to the great team at CCOV.
Animals of Distinction (AOD) is the multimedia dance company of renowned choreographer and dancer Dana Gingras. Through AOD, Gingras has fostered the creation of numerous cutting-edge works that have involved innovative collaborations across diverse mediums and artistic practices, all shaped by the possibilities of new technologies and cultural shifts.
“At the centre of the work is a belief that we can obtain critical knowledge from engaging with the physical and emotional risks inherent to dance and movement. It is through the body and choreography that this element of risk can be employed to explore a vision of the world that is larger than our individual isolated experiences. The goal is to stimulate audiences to become more aware of the elements of complexity, connectivity, and complicity within our physical, social, and emotional lives.”
– Dana Gingras, Artistic Director, Animals of Distinction
With FRONTERA, the Centre de Création O Vertigo – CCOV officially turns to a new page in its history. In 2016, after more than 30 years of lighting up the world’s stages with highly-acclaimed performances that established O Vertigo Danse as one of Canada’s most distinguished dance companies, Ginette Laurin initiated a succession plan to establish a new company model that responds to the creative practices of today’s dance artists. As innovative as Ginette Laurin’s spirit, the Centre de Création O Vertigo – CCOV is a dynamic structure whose mission includes producing ambitious, large-scale creations by a new generation of visionary artists.
Big, bold and compelling, Dana Gingras’ FRONTERA is the first work to be born from the CCOV’s artist-in-residence program. We couldn’t be more excited to launch this new chapter with her!
– Paul Caskey, Executive Producer, Centre de Création O Vertigo
The Centre de Création O Vertigo (CCOV) is a centre for reflection, research and Creation in contemporary dance, an incubator of ideas and talent. Its mission: to offer dance artists access to its studios and support the creation of choreographic works through short-term residencies offered to about 20 choreographers per year, or through its flagship program: the two‑year long-term residency, whose first recipient was Dana Gingras (2017–2019). The CCOV also promotes artistic outreach and exchange by presenting activities that are open to the public.
Premiere: November 20, 2019
Grand Théâtre de Québec, Québec, Canada (A copresentation from La Rotonde and Le Grand Théâtre de Québec)
Choreography and direction: Dana Gingras
Executive Producer: Centre de Création O Vertigo (CCOV)
Coproduction: Animals of Distinction
Created with and performed by:
Louise Michel Jackson
Justin de Luna
Sovann Rochon-Prom Tep
Koliane Rochon-Prom Tep
A special thank you to dancers Ellen Furey, Esther Rousseau Morin and Paige Culley who were an integral part of the creation process.
Visual concept & Scenography: United Visual Artists
Live music: Fly Pan Am
Field recordings & interviews: Dave Bryant
Assistant to the Choreographer & Rehearsal director: Sarah Williams
Costumes: Sandra Richefort
Producer & Agent: Sarah Rogers
Centre de Création O Vertigo (Montréal), Théâtre Maisonneuve, Place des Arts (Montréal), Salle Pierre-Mercure, Centre Pierre-Péladeau (Montréal)
Stage manager: Mylène Caya
Tour manager: Dominique Sarrazin
Technical director: Jean-François Piché
Sound technician: Radwan Ghazi Moumneh
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Danse Danse (Montréal), Sydney Festival, CTM Festival (Berlin) & PuSh International Performing Arts Festival (Vancouver)
Developed with the support of the National Arts Centre’s National Creation Fund.
Artistic Direction: Dana Gingras
Producer: Sarah Rogers
Administration: Stephanie Murphy
Board of Directors:
Suzanne Hawkes, Patty Jones, Dianne Kennedy, Patricia Kim, Mike Magee, Marie Brassard, Daniel Canty, Karine Denault, Line Nault & Sonya Stefan
Executive Director: Paul Caskey
Production Director: André Houle
Administrative Director: Valerie Buddle
Artistic Curator: Andrew Tay
Communications: Christel Durand & Jeanne Robichaud
Coordination: Gaétan Paré