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DanceHouse Launches New Season with Celebrated Work by Brazil’s Deborah Colker

The acclaimed choreographer’s ‘Dog Without Feathers’ will be the first of four streamed events.

DanceHouse 13 Sep 2021 | TheTyee.ca

Digidance, a partnership formed in response to COVID-19 by four of Canada’s leading dance presenters — DanceHouse (Vancouver), Danse Danse (Montreal), Harbourfront Centre (Toronto) and the National Arts Centre (Ottawa) — returns for the 2021-22 season with a celebrated work by internationally acclaimed choreographer Deborah Colker, inspired by a poem by Brazilian writer João Cabral.

Presented as video-on-demand and streaming in Canada only, Dog Without Feathers (Cão Sem Plumas) is the first of four streaming works that Digidance will feature this season. It will be available to view from Sept. 29 to Oct. 11.

Influenced by the region, animals and people of Brazil’s Capibaribe River, Dog Without Feathers is both a meditation and commentary on the climate crisis. The work’s title references the sluggish river and the people who live by and depend upon it. “It conveys the soul of Brazil from the rich and miserable to the mud and mangroves,” says choreographer Colker of the piece’s message and intentions.

Following its premiere in 2017, the work quickly received international acclaim and attention. In 2018, Colker was honoured as the choreography recipient of the International Dance Association’s Prix Benois de la Danse — the “Oscars of dance” for the work.

Dog Without Feathers welcomes audiences into its world with voiceovers of Cabral’s poem, accompanied by Cláudio Assis’s black and white film projections and photography of the Capibaribe River, which include startling images of a dry riverbed, a burning crop field, rugged terrain, lush forests and a shanty town.

Over the course of the work, the dancers embody not only the landscape of the Capibaribe region but also the frogs, birds and fauna that call the region home. Ultimately, they evolve to represent humanity itself, and explore how our species is simultaneously dependent upon and destructive of the natural world.

Colker has become one of Brazil’s most prominent and influential cultural figures since founding her company in 1994. Her works have toured four continents and been seen on some of the world’s greatest stages. In addition to the Prix Benois de la Danse, she was the first Brazilian to win a Laurence Olivier Award in 2001.

Beyond the work she has created for her own company, Colker served as Cirque du Soleil’s first-ever female choreographer for 2009’s Ovo and as the movement director and choreographer for the 2016 Olympics in her hometown of Rio de Janeiro.

Based in Rio, her company Companhia de Dança Deborah Colker is well-known for combining “death-defying feats on giant hamster wheels, vogueing, hip-hop, acrobatics and anything else that suits Colker’s eclectic sensibility,” says the New York Times.

Digidance’s presentation of Dog Without Feathers will also include a 20-minute pre-show documentary. The presentation will be available to view from Sept. 29 to Oct. 11. Tickets start from $16 and can be found on DanceHouse’s website.  [Tyee]

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