Music for the Heart

Dana Gingras has a lot on the go. The much-awarded Montreal-based choreographer and Animals of Distinction artistic director recently codirected a Bravo Fact short, created the short film What Is Mine Is Yours featured at the L.A. County Museum of Art, and choreographed the latest Arcade Fire video (“Sprawl II”). Somewhere in there, she found time to create her own multimedia work, Heart As Arena.

In an average lifetime, the human heart beats more than two and a half billion times; Heart explores the secret electricity that animates both mind and muscle. Working against the clichés surrounding matters of the heart, the evening explores love, longing, and distance. From Quebec, Gingras writes: “I’ve travelled and lived in many far-away places since childhood and dance has kept me often away from home and people I love, so I’ve lived very intimately with the experience of distance and the need to connect.”

In our increasingly disconnected culture, alienated from the physical self, Gingras is also interested in bringing her work back to the body. “I wanted to get close again to the kind of heat that bodies in pure relentless motion generate.” A fan of watching and re-watching the iconic slow-mo sequences from John Woo action movies, she is fascinated by the falling body for its unpredictable, illogical, and poetic possibilities.

The Vancouver performance will include an intriguing sound design: four transmitters and up to 500 pocket-sized radio receivers will hover over the five performers. The performers’ bodies will interact with the transmissions, changing the sound score as they disturb on-air frequencies. Expect a performance that is all things: dance, theatre, fashion, performance art, sound event, visual art, and cinema. Choreographer, film director, artist, Gingras seeks to stimulate her audience enough to make them aware of the beating of their own hearts.