Un temps pour tout
Children and adults, come on in! In a cozy atmosphere, the hip-hop dancers Pax, Jigsaw and Sangwn express themselves in a spirit of sharing. Raw, explosive, joyful.
Children and adults, come on in! Enjoy the living room lamps, indoor plants and dozens of cushions. In this cozy atmosphere, the inventive and generous choreographer Sovann Rochon-Prom Tep combines the driving energy of three hip-hop dancers and two musicians to reveal their unique artistry.
Un temps pour tout pays tribute to these talented artists and the incredible complicity they share. And the dance keeps on coming – in solos, duos and trios. These live wire performers freely pass on the baton, supported by the eclectic rhythms and distortions of drums and keyboard. With the loose ambience of a church basement talent show, Pax, Jigsaw and Sangwn exude power and fragility in a spirit of sharing. It’s raw, explosive, joyful. A moment for everyone. Together.
Produced by Sovann Rochon-Prom Tep
Instigation Sovann Rochon-Prom Tep
Performed by and created with Ja James Britton Johnson alias Jigsaw + Frédérique Dumas alias Pax + Jean-Édouard Pierre Toussaint alias Sangwn
Music composed and performed by Thomas Sauvé-Lafrance + Vithou Thurber-Prom Tep
Lighting Design Etienne Fournier
Advisors Caroline Gravel + Soleil Launière
Set Design Xavier Mary
Sound Jean-François Gagnon
Executive Producer Lorganisme
Co-produced by La Chapelle Scènes contemporaines + 100Lux
Residencies École de danse contemporaine de Montréal + Compagnie Marie Chouinard + Centre de création O Vertigo + Stable Studio
Presented in association with Place des Arts
Written by Morena Prats
Translated by Neil Kroetsch
Premiered at La Chapelle Scènes Contemporaines, Montreal, on January 31, 2019
Sovann Rochon-Prom Tep (Montreal)
Sovann Rochon-Prom Tep has been breakdancing since the age of eight and has taken part in many hip-hop battles with the Sweet Technique group.
Regularly invited as a participant or judge in competitions all over the world, he has honed his craft over the years. Since graduating from the École de danse contemporaine de Montréal in 2015, he has danced for the companies Animals of Distinction, Castel_Blast and RUBBERBAND, and was a member of the cast of Martin Messier’s Innervision (FTA, 2019).
His choreography draws from both hip-hop and contemporary dance. Presque trop tard (2017), a duo created with the dancer Jean-Édouard “Sangwn” Pierre Toussaint, explored complicity and male friendship. In Si ça se sait (2018), a solo presented at Tangente, Rochon-Prom Tep returned to improvisation, a distinctive feature of hip-hop, creating a moment of empathetic sharing with the public.
For Un temps pour tout Rochon-Prom Tep has invited artists from the hip-hop community – the dancers Jean-Édouard Pierre Toussaint alias Sangwn, Frédérique Dumas alias Pax, Ja James Britton Johnson alias Jigsaw, as well as the musicians Thomas Sauvé-Lafrance and Vithou Thurber-Prom Tep – to improvise in the theatre space, transformed for the occasion into a cosy, festive scene. With this piece, Rochon-Prom Tep was one of the three finalists for the Prix du CALQ -Oeuvre de la relève à Montreal in 2019.
The artists onstage all have strong, immediately recognizable personalities. How did you manage to get them to work together in the same show?
I wanted to highlight the potential of several artists I admire. I grew up watching Pax, Jigsaw and Sangwn dance. They are icons in the hip-hop community, renowned for their art and for their social engagement. I wanted to showcase these exceptional artists in a new context, that is onstage, while staying faithful to the essence of their work. Pax is disarmingly transparent onstage. His deep introspection draws the audience into his universe. Jigsaw dances krump style, so playing a character is part of the performance. He can change masks in a flash. Sangwn is spiritually profound, full of benevolent energy.
Ritual is part of his daily life, his dance, his art. The raw material of each of the three is extremely rich, not to mention the musicians who are an integral part of the process and the piece: Thomas Sauvé-Lafrance on drums and Vithou Thurber-Prom Tep on keyboard. Both of them vacillate between jazz, hip-hop and rock, and took advantage of this show to embark on new research. They play with time and temporality as they seek to give the piece new colours, shifting toward experimental music. I view all the artists as co-creators, along with the set designer Xavier Mary and the lighting designer Étienne Fournier, who improvises live every night.
My role is to act as mediator, seeing that each person’s needs are met and spotlighting their beautiful work. It is an artistic, human and ethical choice to create a piece where artists are truly themselves. That meant establishing an order and organizing the space and context so that the show can be seen by a large number of people. I see myself as the instigator of the project, someone who provides support – in line with an artistic vision, of course – for the creation of this piece, nudging it along so that it emerges on its own.
The artists onstage exude a feeling of liberty. How much of the piece is scripted and how much is improvised?
There is practically no scripted, pre-arranged movement, but there is a very clear energy curve. Changing roles, passing on the baton and radiating intense energy are all tools that provide the artists with a framework they can draw on as they wish. That structure responds to their needs, so that they feel free to explore whatever inspires them at a given moment. Both the musicians and the dancers continue to surprise me every night. I outline a path or give indications, but they decide to follow those suggestions or not. Because they create and experience the piece, they are well suited to determine what the show requires. It’s very exciting to see how the work evolves night after night.
In public spaces, whether connected to urban dance or not, there is a give and take among social groups, a neighbourly warmth where everyone is welcome. What is the link between your community involvement and this show?
Given the social vision and commitment of everyone involved in the show, I knew I had to create a inviting space very open to families, in particular, so that children would feel welcome. I wanted to distance myself from the ideal, parallel world of show business to present something that makes an intimate connection due to the close proximity of the performers. I aimed to strip the stage of its magic and transform the theatre into a place for encounter and sharing. Providing tea, biscuits and cushions in a warm, welcoming space are ways for me to thank the audience for coming to see what we have to offer.
The show also responds to a desire to decentralize, to shift the focus. Artistic institutions are not accessible to many for reasons of culture, ticket prices and the geographic location of certain communities. The hip-hop dance that emerged in those neighbourhoods is shared with others in the streets, clubs and parks and is thus accessible to one and all. It brings together people from different social classes and cultures, a mingling rarely seen in cultural institutions.
As others are also doing, I wanted to build bridges between the privileges that institutions have at their disposal and the different art forms thriving in the streets. I also wanted to promote a show that, in addition to its artistic value, sends a signal that everyone is welcome, regardless of personal baggage. A show is a great opportunity to get together and share a magic moment.