A quirky plunge into the unconventional universe of an inimitable performer. Bizarre, but also comical. Dana Michel is a free electron, spinning under boundless skies.
Dana Michel is inimitable. Unique. The choreographer doesn’t dance so much as dare, taking risks and inventing her own body language based on questionings of her roots. Her strange, quirky work, her audacity and her unbridled imagination have won over audiences here and abroad, and she is now a sought-after live artist. Make no mistake – this Montreal artist has captivated the world of contemporary stage performance.
In the wake of the acclaimed Yellow Towel, Mercurial George traces and transforms the banal, provoking a certain malaise. Wading through the heaps of debris that remain after a dig through marginality and cultural heritage, Dana Michel offers a destabilizing solo. The body vacillates as it struggles for balance and a toehold. Stretching out time with minimalist and deconstructed movement, Michel becomes the archeologist of her own persona. Bizarre, but also comical, her universe is bathed in childhood naiveté and sacred mystery. Intuitive, free and dissident, Dana Michel breaks the mould and shifts points of view.
Produced by Dana Michel
Created and performed by Dana Michel
Lighting design Karine Gauthier
Artistic activators Martin Bélanger + Peter James + Mathieu Léger + Roscoe Michel + Yoan Sorin
Sound consultant David Drury
Co-produced by Festival TransAmériques + Tanz im August (Berlin) + CDC Atelier de Paris-Carolyn Carlson + ImPulsTanz Vienna International Dance Festival + Chapter (Cardiff)
Creative residencies Usine C + Dancemakers – Centre for Creation (Toronto) + ImPulsTanz Vienna International Dance Festival + Actoral – La Friche Belle de Mai (Marseille) + CDC Atelier de Paris-Carolyn Carlson + Woop (Douarnenez)
Premiered at FTA, Montreal, June 2, 2016
Dana Michel (Montreal)
Born and raised in Ottawa, Dana Michel now lives in Montreal. She has a background in competitive sport and completed a BFA in contemporary dance at Concordia University.
The Rise of an Exceptional Artist
In 2013 she presented Yellow Towel, a solo acclaimed by critics. It had its première at the FTA, which led to an international tour. The work was listed by the New York magazine Time Out as one of the Top Ten performances of 2014. She also received a special prize at the prestigious ImPulsTanz festival in Vienna for outstanding artistic accomplishment, and her piece was named one of the most remarkable productions of 2014 by the New York Times. Her dances have been presented in several cities across North America, Europe and the United Kingdom. She has been an artist in residence at Usine C and at Dancemakers in Toronto since 2015. Over the past two years she presented segments of her new piece Mercurial George.
Freely and instinctively exploring marginality and her identity as a black woman, Dana Michel continues, in Mercurial George, the research begun with Yellow Towel. The artist works with the body off balance, with gestures characterized by awkward movements, like the vacillating structures underpinning a discomfort about identity. Destabilizing and very unconventional, these solos stand out for their intelligence, their free spirit. Creating a unique, complex world full of incisive humour, the performer has created an exceptional piece not to be missed.