Photo: Frederic Chais
Photo: Susan Moss
“Simard’s vision unleashes an electric bolt of messy, self-destructive chaos onto the stage. There’s more than a scent of the very strange primal urges of punk rock era of the 1970s, most particularly the raw, nihilist, fuck-you madness..."
—Philip Szporer, The Dance Current
For Helen Simard, the stage is a place of experimentation that allows us to deconstruct and reinvent the body and its relationship to time and space, as much for the performer as for the spectator. She invites us to explore new ways of opening up to our senses and our emotions. In her works, the body is speaking, dancing, singing, “musiking”. It is impulsive, vulnerable, hybrid, powerful, dislocated, thirsty, emotional, individual and collective, in constant redefinition.
Her research is rooted in a exploration of archive materials drawn from popular culture, cross referenced with her own physical explorations and their collective echoes in the bodies of the performers. She conducts this research in dialogue with a team of dancers and musicians, who deconstruct and reinterpret her movement and sound propositions in unique and singular ways. Helen is fascinated by the musicality of the body, and imports elements of rock’n’roll and street dances in her choreographic process, establishing a very open and complicit relationship and exchange between audience and performers. The performers address the audience, challenging them, inhabiting their space, going as far as questioning him, disturbing him.
Helen’s choreographic signature celebrates virtuosity, as much in her movement vocabulary as in her work on embodied states, musicality, and presence. She combines text, music and movement in dreamlike paradoxical works that are at once beautiful and disturbing, accessible and provoking, familiar and strange. In her shows, the body is a transmitter of pure energy, space is open to experimentation and discovery, and time is in a constant state of flux. She gives space to the messy, raw, undefinable spaces of life, inviting the audience to appreciate the beauty of the work, all while questioning their own relationship to the chaos around them, in a perpetually redefining state of reality, where strong images emerge suddenly, only to shift or shatter without notice.
To feel unsafe in a safe place:
This is the experience that Helen Simard's works have to offer.