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Potsdamer Tanztage: Focus Canada. 16.-28.05.2017, Potsdam.

This year’s Potsdamer Tanztage, supported by the Canadian government (who has boosted arts funding for the next five years in celebration of its 150th anniversary), presented Kanada-Fokus / Focus Canada, which brought the work of four very different Canadian choreographers to German audiences — all are based in Montreal’s vibrant contemporary scene, and yet all represent a style of contemporary dance markedly distinct from the others:
Frederick Gravel dancing alongside the remarkable Brianna Lombardo, presented the enormously charming duet This Duet That We’ve Already Done (So Many Times) which brought together sexuality, nudity, heteronormativity, and… wait for it… romance; accompanied throughout by pop-music its handling of cliché without cynicism but with humour was courageous and lovely.

Of a different nature were LA-born Victor Quijada and his Montreal company,
RUBBERBANDance Group, a youthful group of dance-acrobats who mixed hip-hop, ballet, and contemporary dance for a properly spectacular show celebrating the company’s 15th anniversary, replete with an exhilarating jam during applause. And while Marie Chouinard’s Hieronymus Bosch: Der Garten der Lüste opened the festival, closing its Canadian chapter was Unrelated by Daina Ashbee, whose stark work for two performers drew bleak, violent, and touching pictures, deconstructed and universalised fragments of images that not only drew attention to the historical and contemporary issues of the brutal treatment of First Nations women, but also demanded reflection on how we perceive and respond to bodies, and particularly female bodies, more broadly.

Not reaching outside of Montreal or its household names; still, diverse in its offerings, constant in the exhibition of works both physical and conceptual, of the dark, of the unironic, of the optimistic, of the earnest…

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