1 hour, 3 departments — and 60 student performances!
When you cram 60 minute-long performances into a relentless, non-stop, one-hour stage production, time can be your best friend or your worst enemy.
60x60 Concordia is the only show that integrates contributions from Concordia’s music, theatre, and contemporary dance departments.
On January 31, under the watchful eye of a giant clock, a talented pool of composers, performers, and stage technicians will present one of the most conceptually and aesthetically challenging shows of the year.
This year’s official installation of the show (held annually at Concordia since 2013) is supported by the evenko foundation, which will also provide cameras to livestream the show on the Faculty of Fine Arts Facebook page.
“We are proud to contribute to an event as creative and diverse as 60X60,’’ says Roman Oryschuk, chairman of the evenko foundation board.
“The evenko foundation admires the collaboration between the various performing arts disciplines, and believes in the potential of such projects to encourage creativity and help emerging talent to understand the essence of their future professional careers.’’
Collaboration and harmonization timed to a ticking clock
60x60 Concordia is developed in layers. The departments work independently, then bring their respective contributions together.
Students from Electroacoustic Studies — working with Eldad Tsabary, assistant professor in the Department of Music — compose individual pieces to serve as inspiration for choreographed performances.
Contemporary Dance students in second- and third-year choreography classes, as well as Theatre students in performance creation, form into 60 groups and choose 60 pieces from the pool of musical compositions. Music students then take those choices and assemble them into a one-hour musical score.
Theatre students are responsible for the show’s lighting design using the musical score for cues. During the final week of rehearsals, they harmonize the stage lighting with both dance and music.
On stage, a ticking clock continually propels each piece forward, turning the 60-minute show into a runaway train of micro-performances. Working within such a tight time-frame makes 60x60 Concordia as much about the transitions as it is about the performances themselves.
Stripping away clichés, opening up to experimentation
Silvy Panet-Raymond, chair of the Department of Contemporary Dance, says that the short time frame is part of the learning process for students.
“You learn how to go deeper even in 60 seconds,” she says. “How to move, degree by degree, away from the cliché without losing the essence of what it is, but rethinking the representation of it.”
Michael Montanaro, a professor in the Department of Contemporary Dance who teaches second-year choreography, noted that the spectator’s experience watching 60x60 Concordia is unlike any other.
“It’s much different than watching a piece that’s made by one person. It’s much more about the consciousness of 60 different people creating something within a conceptual framework that in the ends makes sense in a new kind of way.”
More than half the dance students have never done this before. They find many ways to break down and build up their one-minute performances.
Student Solana Del Bel Belluz sees some of her colleagues’ respective pieces as entry points into a longer piece at year’s end.
“It’s a great opportunity to go fully into a small piece of a larger idea,” she says.
Second-year dance student, Xdzunum Trejo sees 60x60 as an opportunity to reflect on the minutiae of life and dig deep to find those brief, significant moments.
“I started thinking about the importance of time, its essence, and why it is so important. It’s about getting to the bottom of what you’re exploring.”
Third-year dance student Bradley Eng says each performance must stay simple, while remaining open to experimentation.
“You can be grandiose in your movement but the idea has to remain simple enough that it can be given to the audience in 60 seconds,” he says. “On the other hand, you can just throw something together and experiment with movement.”
60x60 Concordia takes place Wednesday, January 31, at 6:30 p.m. in the D.B. Clarke Theatre, located in the Henry F. Hall Building, 1455 De Maisonneuve W. You can also watch the performances live on the Faculty of Fine Arts Facebook page.
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