Marie Béland breaks down pop-culture images for youthful minds in Rayon X and Behind
How audiences respond to work piques Marie Béland’s curiosity, so it’s not surprising to see her building interest from the ground up. Over the next two weeks, her work will be featured first at the Coups de Théâtre festival with Rayon X: A True Decoy Story, geared to 13-year-old-plus adolescents, and then as a tween-set double bill of Rayon X and Behind: Une danse dont vous êtes le héros. "Double the stress," she laughs.
Reflective of the title, the Montreal-based choreographer dives right in to expose the process of what’s in a dance. "In Rayon X, we go behind what you might expect to see." And before anyone else can query "What is dance?" Béland is already asking the question herself. The audience is her "mirror," she says, even if it might have no reaction at all. Far from a dance minimalist, she incorporates theatricality, physicality, a pop-culture sensibility splashed with conceptual art-making ideas and dialogue (in French and English) from a terrific cast: Natalie Zoey Gauld, Simon-Xavier Lefebvre, Marilyne St-Sauveur, Anne Thériault and Andrew Turner.
Behind‘s conceit lies in a wall separating audiences and performers (Rachel Harris and Peter Trosztmer), barely betraying what’s happening behind the separation. "People will perceive sounds of voices and flashes of bodies from time to time," says Béland, but the hero of the title is in fact every individual seated in the house. "It’s up to you how to fill in the blanks."
Béland chooses to work with performers in a straightforward manner, proposing certain movement phrases or concepts which can serve an improvisation process. She then orchestrates all of the elements, with sensitivity to form and a spray of vibrant colours. Live music on stage is another resonant feature, with guitarist Philippe B playing for Rayon X and members of Avec Pas d’Casque for Behind.
Rayon X: A True Decoy Story
At Tangente (840 Cherrier), Nov. 26 and 28
Rayon X and Behind
At Tangente, to Dec. 5