Tangente Dance Collective Showcases Concordia Students’ Work

Twi Dancers Pop Up on the Local Scene

  • Micheal Shink, performer. Photo courtesy Tangente.

A dancer with fire-red hair is swimming her way through misty light. It’s the dance of the selkie, the mythical water creature.

Only minutes later, a lanky bearded man moseys around the stage in leather heels, teasing the audience as he strikes glamorous, dramatic poses with seven-metre cuts of satin and tulle. Eryn Tempest and Manuel Shink, the two dancers, wowed audiences this weekend at Monument National as part of Tangente’s “New Waves” series. They were special performances, as their pieces weren’t seen so long ago at Concordia University.

Founded in 1980, Tangente Dance is a platform for showcasing new artists’ work. This year, they had hopes to reach Montreal students more directly, and have set up ambassadors at each university in the city, including Concordia and McGill, in order to do so.

The collective meets after every opening night to discuss ideas, partnerships, and projects with student organizations, according to Roxane Halary, Tangente’s contact at Concordia. “The goal is to make Tangente’s resources available to emerging artists,” she said.

Tempest and Shink both took advantage of Tangente’s ample resources when applying to “New Waves,” the collective’s annual series that presents five to six emerging dance artists to an industry audience.

“They’ve done a wonderful job of making me feel valued as a producer of work and a contributor to the dance scene in Montreal,” said Tempest.

“They’ve done a wonderful job of making me feel valued as a producer of work and a contributor to the dance scene in Montreal.”—Eryn Tempest, artist

On the series, Shink added, “It’s like the main entrance for an artist at Tangente.”

The lights rise slowly to hypnotic music. Lying next to his cut of red satin, with a simple flip of the hair, Shink had the audience giggling.

The subtlety was extreme, and it was no surprise the performance has seen many layers come and go. In fact, the ten-minute piece took shape three times already—during a glittery art party at underground venue Poisson Noir, at the interdepartmental showcase Tactile Museum, and at Studio 7.

Studio 7 is a monthly cabaret held by students of Concordia’s dance department for all artistic disciplines, in which audience members provide feedback for each piece. The incubator structure certainly resembles what Tangente is doing itself.

Indeed, Tempest credited the dance department with keeping students informed about platforms like Tangente. In the same weekend, she has alternated her solo piece at Tangente with another fascinating piece uptown at Théâtre aux Écuries as part of La Serre’s “Vous êtes ici.”

This time, it was a one-week mentorship whose end result situates the proposed pieces of eight emerging artists and collectives in a navigational theatre show.

Two Concordia dance pieces joined theatre and dance from UQÀM, NTS, and even Cégép Lionel-Groulx. The audience explored the multi-leveled theatre to catch different short works by recent graduates in intervals. Tempest’s piece, in collaboration with Concordia dancer Camille Lacelle-Wilsey and electro-acoustics grad Thomas V. Christie, uses light, dance, and photo in combination with a tech-heavy choreography.

“La Serre is a wonderful program to support artist research,” Tempest said. “They provided us with everything from extension cords to dramaturgical feedback.” Performing back-to-back with La Serre and Tangente, Edmonton-raised Tempest tosses aside the taboo of Anglo and Franco arts scenes intermingling. Just as Tangente puts it, there’s a clear desire for students of all backgrounds to find their way into these institutions.

While both Tangente and La Serre’s programs have closed up shop until next year, Studio 7’s October edition will be coming around the bend shortly, and students from all artistic backgrounds are welcome to show work.

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