You, an Urban Safari and Performance Art

Spark dances its way into the public on Sept. 8. Graphic Vivien Leung

An urban safari will be released upon Montreal this week.

No need to fret. This isn’t your typical pack of exotic animals, but a pack of performance artists and the occasion is Spark, a four day performance festivity.

“There will certainly be something for everyone [at Spark], from drag to contortion, dance and interdisciplinary performance,” explained Miriam Ginestier, artistic director of Studio 303.

Hosting the event, Studio 303 was founded in 1989 as a dance rehearsal and informal showing space. Now, over 20 years later, it has become a creative home for independent artists, offering professional workshops, residencies and support services geared towards dance and interdisciplinary artists, especially emerging artists.

Studio 303 coined the phrase “urban safari” to describe Spark, which will take place at several venues across the city.

Ginestier is hesitant to call the event a festival.

“Spark is not a festival because Studio 303 is not presenting a separate full program of events,” she said. “We have coordinated around things already happening such as les Escales Improbables and La Chapelle’s program.

“It’s more like a spotlight on a multitude of events happening in a concentrated amount of time, and at the same time.”

Spectators can expect a diversity of performances from Spark. What gives the event cohesion is its intentions to push the envelope.

“What will be shared is a real concern with audience engagement, with experimentation, with pushing boundaries,” said Ginestier.

Ginestier said not to be turned off by the event if you don’t recognize any of the performers names.

“If people don’t know any of the artists involved, the cabaret is a great way to get a taste of a real cross-section of exciting artists,” she said.

With nine different shows ranging from free to a $25 charge, discounts are offered to students, there’s really no excuse not to go.

“Anyone who is curious about dance and performance, or who wants to be surprised, should come and see Spark,” Ginestier said.

Spark takes place at several venues throughout the city from Sept. 8 to Sept. 12. For Spark’s schedule, visit Studio 303’s web site at

This article originally appeared in Volume 31, Issue 04, published September 7, 2010.