Dance Theatre Fusion

Fabien Prioville’s Reverse_Me Invades the Goethe-Institut

Photo by Shaun Michaud.

Choreographer Fabien Prioville’s new performance art piece Reverse_Me will take-over the Montreal location of the German non-profit Goethe-Institut this week.

The cultural centre will be transformed into a contemporary dance theatre where guests will attend a live show.

“The show is unique because it touches several different creative arts,” said Prioville. “We fuse our creations in a particularly offbeat environment.”

Commissioned by the Goethe-Institut, the original piece is an elaborate off-stage dance performance featuring conceptual video installations and off-kilter music. Prioville collaborated with Canadian contemporary dance icon Louise Lecavalier and Theater Dortmund composer Tommy “T.D. Finck von Finckenstein.”

Prioville explained that Reverse_Me dealt with the interconnected themes of separation, isolation and exclusion.

He also said it won’t be as interactive as his previous work, Experiment on Chatting Bodies. However, the audience will be in the middle of the action and will follow the dancers through six rooms.

Though chronological, the performance is non-narrative and will ultimately leave its spectators guessing; philosophizing about its outcome.

Prioville, an alumnus of the Tanzhaus Düsseldorf, a German dance company, stars in his own project. Assisting him is a live lovebird symbolizing the themes he and his partners seek to capture and transmit to the guests of the Goethe-Institut.

“Once a lovebird finds a mate, it remains monogamous for life,” says Prioville in hushed tones. “Ours is female and will be paired with Louise Lecavalier for most of the show.”

Prioville met Lecavalier in the 1980s while they were both part of the La La La Human Steps dance group. According to the choreographer, they jumped at the opportunity to work together again after so many years.

Meanwhile, the idea of building video installations was incidental. Prioville carries a small camera and tinkers with it every chance he gets. This habit led to the capture of intimate moments he shared with Lecavalier.

“And when I watched the work we had done I was astounded,” he said. “I saw the potential to create. And it’s not something that could have happened if we had done this purposefully. Otherwise, it would have felt fake.”
This led to conceptual chiaroscuro images Prioville lightly retouched through editing software.

Prioville, had a clear idea of what he wanted for Reverse_Me. He called on Von Finckenstein to infuse some of his ’80s synthpop-tinged harmonies.

“I’ve been fascinated by Rob, a French artist who worked on the soundtrack for the movie Maniac. And a lot of what Tommy does reminds me of that sound,” Prioville said.

The composer/DJ lent a minimalist vibe to blend in with the light and smoke that will envelop the Goethe-Institut for four days in September.

Though the choreographer remained quite mysterious and coy about the details of his forthcoming play, he willingly spoke about his creative process, which he defines as a type of gestalt therapy that the audience is left to decipher.

“I know what I want to do but I’m not always aware of what comes out,” he said.

“I mean I’m conscious of the images I produce and what they symbolize but I don’t own the final product. The piece gains a life of its own and its existence is expressed through the eyes of its viewers.”

*_Reverse_Me_ // Sept. 18 to Sept. 21 // Goethe-Institut (1626 St. Laurent Blvd.) // 8:00 p.m. // $15 *