Three celestial bodies launched into orbit vibrate in a lascivious and hypnotic ritual. Dog Rising explores the circulation of physical matter and the passage of vibrations through our bodies.
With its celestial bodies launched into orbit, vibrating in a lustful and hypnotic ritual, Dog Rising mirrors the life cycle, the dynamic flow of matter. From primitive impulses to gestures that are at times sexual, at times mechanical, Clara Furey’s new creation comes together like a polyphony of pulsating bodies, in turns dissonant and in unison. The choreographer pursues her exploration of physical phenomena, initiated with Cosmic Love. She turns her attention to the way sound vibrations penetrate the bones, the way our skeletons absorb shocks, and listens closely to the presence of the body as it fully manifests itself.
On stage with Winnie Ho and Be Heintzman Hope, Furey erects an architecture of pleasure. The trio is inhabited and nourished by empathy and acute attention to the energy of the body and to others. Through their tireless movement work, tensions are released in the endless repetition of cyclical gestures. Dog Rising invites us to embark on an extreme journey, a mesmerising, haunting, and penetrating spiral. It is an invitation to grow and regenerate physical strength through shocks and discomfort sublimated into joy, with a musical score by her loyal collaborator Tomas Furey.
Produced by Clara Furey
Choreographed by Clara Furey in association with Be Heintzman Hope + Winnie Ho
Performed by Be Heintzman Hope + Brian Mendez + Winnie Ho
Research Performer and Assistant Brian Mendez
Rehearsal Lucie Vigneault
Composition Tomas Furey
Technical Director and Lighting Design Karine Gauthier
Words by Coral Short
Outside Eye Peter Jasko + Dana Michel + Caroline Monnet + Christopher Willes
Executive Producer Par B.L.eux
International Development A Propic – Line Rousseau & Marion Gauvent
Co-produced by Festival TransAmériques + Atelier de Paris – CDCN + CD Spectacles (Gaspé) + Centre Chorégraphique National d’Orléans – Direction Maud le Pladec + La Briqueterie – Centre de Développement Chorégraphique du Val-de-Marne (Vitry-sur-Seine) + La Rotonde (Québec)
Avec le soutien de Par B.L.eux + L’Écart – Art Actuel (Rouyn-Noranda) + Danse à la Carte
Presented in association with Fonds GB
Written by Elsa Pépin
Translated by Luba Markovskaia
Premiered at Festival TransAmériques, Montreal, on May 26, 2021
Clara Furey (Montreal)
After completing musical training at the Conservatoire de Paris, Clara Furey launched her career as a singer-songwriter.
She later trained as a dancer at the École de danse contemporaine de Montréal and worked with choreographers such as George Stamos, Damien Jalet, and Benoît Lachambre. An artist accustomed to collaborative work, (Untied Tales with Peter Jasko, showcased at the Venice Biennale in 2016, Ciguë with Éric Arnal Burtschy), Furey created her first solo work as artistic director in 2017 with Cosmic Love, a collective piece with minimal gestures, exploring the voids and invisibilities in the interactions between body, song, and space.
As both a choreographer and a performer, Furey is interested in shifting codes within various forms of art by way of an interdisciplinary dialogue. In 2017, she performed When Even The 90 times alongside a sculpture by Marc Quinn as part of the Leonard Cohen exhibit at the Musée d’art contemporain de Montréal. She has taken part in the FTA as a performer in Là où je vis (2008) by Danièle Desnoyers and in Poésie, sandwichs et autres soirs qui penchent (2008) by Loui Mauffette, as the cocreator, with Benoît Lachambre, of Chutes incandescentes (2012), and as the choreographer of Rather a Ditch (2019), a solo piece written for Céline Bonnier centring on the permeability of bodies, as a response to Steve Reich’s album Different Trains. With Dog Rising, Furey concludes her exploration of tension and immobility, freeing previously contained energies in a performance focusing on the notions of velocity and the unfolding of bodies in space.
Dog Rising draws inspiration from the bodily language around the skeleton, as well as the principles of bone conduction. Would you elaborate on this idea?
Ever since Cosmic Love, I have been interested in the physical phenomena that surround us. I read popular science books and I like to play instinctively with the poetic representations of these phenomena, from a non-scientific point of view. To me, they are conducive to works of art: I believe that body work, somatics, and artistic sensitivity can help communicate scientific truths.
So, when I discovered the concept of bone conduction—the way hearing-impaired people are able to hear through the vibration of bones, which are spiral-shaped so as to communicate sound—, I was immediately struck by the beauty of the phenomenon. The idea the shocks of vibrations strengthen rather than break us is the starting point of my physical investigation. Rather than seeing shocks as something dramatic, from an emotional point of view, I choose to imagine it as something that helps our skeleton survive.
While for Cosmic Love, Rather a Ditch, and When Even The, I had shut myself off from emotion—although emotions are quite present in my work as a dancer as well as in my life—with Dog Rising, I wanted to give free rein to my more expressive and sensitive side. I thus opened the door to a more spontaneous form of pleasure, through pulsations and shocks that put me in a certain state and allow my emotions to flow like waves. This is neither narrative nor dramatic, but purely sensory, in an unhindered way. There is nothing I hold back: my experiences of sex and motherhood as well as my background as a dancer all come into play when I set my skeleton in motion.
In your previous creations, notions of emptiness, stillness, and tension were front and centre, whereas in this piece, energy flows more freely. Does this signal a shift in your approach?
I feel that with When Even The, Rather A Ditch and Cosmic Love, I reached the peak of a certain exploration of tension and stillness, focusing on densely listening to silence. There was this idea that the void might be actually full and that we had to listen to it. With Dog Rising, all the energy I gathered during this investigation explodes. Some of the tension, the weightiness and restraint is loosened: there is pleasure, the joy of the moment. Emptiness will always play an important part in my work, and so will ghosts, but I wanted to release the bodies and to watch as energy flows and renews itself. I envision a build-up of energy, like when musical instruments join together one by one. For me, this piece is a musical one, and it plays on synchronicity or dissonance.
Just like we were attempting to sing together in Cosmic Love, I am interested in the effort, the striving to be together. I believe that dissonance, friction, and following different rhythms connects us just as much as being in sync. Notions of persistence and pleasure engender all sorts of questions: how does our little machine work, and how can it regenerate itself? How can we give back resources instead of depleting them? How can we generate energy and lean on one another receive some in return? I’m interested in the idea of renewal, of an energy used to build something, in pleasure rather than in pain. Resources are not finite if they are used in the right way, and that’s where shocks become constructive rather than destructive.
Empathetic listening is at the heart of your approach. Would you care to elaborate?
I am interested in the notions of therapy and care in art. I like to practise dance in a way that teaches me to listen closely, not just socially, but to bodies as well. Listening to what they have to say, to their lived experience. We never know what lurks in our blind spots, but I try to capture the skeleton’s vibrations, its ultrasounds, in a kind of sonogram that allows me to discover a different form of sight: discerning bones through sounds, seeing in the dark. I have surrounded myself with people on my team who inspire me artistically and awaken me to alternate realities. My artistic practice goes hand in hand with a social one.
I chose to work with two dancers who nourish this exploration. Winnie Ho was also in Cosmic Love. She has this remarkably raw, performative side that I love. She lives through sensations and doesn’t bother much with appearances, which is quite rare in the dance world. Her slightly extravagant imagination and her passion for astrophysics resonate with me. Be Heintzman Hope’s trajectory is also unique and inspiring. They are an educator and they foster networks between members of Montreal’s queer community. They add gender fluidity to the feminine energy of the project. For me, femme energy is important in this piece, though in a way that is fluid, androgynous, non-binary.
I hope to radiate a certain strength around the skeleton that is being built throughout this piece, also in reference to femininity. I am interested in the fluidity of the feminine, and this casting is significant. I have struggled a lot with my femininity until the moment when I became a mother. I have been so sexualized and feminized, even though I don’t identify with what is associated with this gender. Our trio is united around listening and empathy. We actually launched Dog Rising by rewriting our contract, to regain agency over our own bodies. The end goal of Dog Rising would be to communicate our sense of empathy to the audience members in a way that will resonate and stay with them.