A rising star of contemporary dance, Daina Ashbee boldly tackles complex questions about femininity, blood, the loss of control. An object of painful beauty.
A high-pitched sound pierces the northern night; an incantation, a cry, an appeal. A young woman appears, luminescent and strangely fascinating, a forthright gaze. She removes her clothing, seems to want to be released from the restraints of her skin. The pain accelerates, the liquid flows. We are in the heart of a tormented, stressful, secret femininity.
A rising star of contemporary dance, the choreographer Daina Ashbee explores the taboo subject of the menstrual cycle, turning it into an object of painful beauty tinged with symbolism. Drawing from the secular tradition of the seal hunt, she boldly tackles complex questions about blood, vaginal discharge, the loss of control. A splendid performer, Paige Culley expresses the suffering of the body undergoing transformation, the animal body naked and vulnerable, a receiver of light, a transmitter of sound, its limbs savagely thrashing the drenched, dripping ice floe as the body shamelessly screams its discomfort and vexation. And then relief, the engulfed woman rises to the surface. A cycle comes to an end.
Created by Daina Ashbee
Choreography and set design Daina Ashbee
Performed by Paige Culley
Music Jean-François Blouin
Lighting design Hugo Dalphond
Production manager Guylaine Savoie
Administration Valérie Buddle + Stéphanie Murphy
Agent Sarah Rogers
Technical director Pierre Lavoie
Apprentice Émilie Morin
Performers in rehearsal Paige Culley + Stephanie Fromentin + Clara Furey + Esther Gaudette + Émilie Morin
Pour has benefited from Services de soutien à la production offered by Diagramme – gestion culturelle.
Daina Ashbee is associated artist to Diagramme – gestion culturelle.
Written by Diane Jean
Translated by Neil Kroetsch
Promotional video Alejandro Jimenez
Premiered at Théâtre La Chapelle, Montreal, on September 26, 2016
Daina Ashbee (Montreal)
After only three dance pieces, the young choreographer Daina Ashbee quickly established a reputation as an important local dance artist.
Of Cree and Métis heritage paternally and Dutch roots maternally, she has developed a dance vocabulary strongly influenced by her relation to the land, the environment and her ancestors. Born and raised in British Columbia, she soon became a fast-rising dance star after moving to Montreal. A symbolic, engaged piece that combines contemporary and traditional elements, Unrelated pays tribute to Aboriginal women subjected to violence and abuse. First presented in Montreal in 2014, it went on to tour Mexico and Europe in 2016. Daina Ashbee received the 2016 CALQ Award for best dance piece of the year for her second choreography When the ice melts, will we drink the water? A dance installation piece that addresses climate change, it was first presented at Geneva’s Ethnography Museum in 2015, in Montreal at La Chapelle Scènes Contemporaines then as part of the 2016 OFFTA.
Her third work, Pour, made its début in autumn 2016 at La Chapelle Scènes Contemporaines and was a big success. Its approach to the menstrual cycle is powerful and devoid of affect, creating striking images strongly rooted in her personal history. Last year she also received the Prix de la Danse de Montréal in the Discovery category for Unrelated. She is artist in residence at Agora de la danse for the period 2017 to 2020.