MONTREAL — Get ready for a body — and mind — bending performance.
Danse Danse presents RubberbanDance Group’s production of “Quotient Empirique,” a new work choreographed by Victor Quijada at Cinquieme Salle of Place des Arts for a dozen performances on now through Saturday, Dec. 7.
The RubberbanDance Group company name stems twofold.
“I’ve taken all these influences that I’ve come in contact with, bring them together and try to expand and stretch the boundaries between different dance genres,” said the affable Victor Quijada, the show choreographer and the founder and co-artistic director of the dance troupe. “It’s the idea of stretching the drawers that we put each thing into and bending the rules into doing what we need them to do.”
Quijada also embraced the moniker as a nickname. As an adolescent, he was totally immersed in a new subculture of music called hip hop.
“Now it’s popular culture, but back in the late ’80s and early ’90s, I picked up the nickname ‘Rubberband.’”
Quijada calls that chapter in his life a “very special moment.” A young Mexican-American, Quijada left his Baldwin Park, Calif., public high school, just east of Los Angeles, and began attending the Los Angeles County High School for the Arts.
“And I was exposed to art with a capital ‘A,’” he said. “And different ideas of minimalism and surrealism and abstraction took hold.”
It was the first time that Quijada was exposed to and garnered inspiration from the likes of the music of Stravinsky; the plays of Samuel Beckett; and the artworks of Magritte, Dali and Picasso.
“That was a completely different world for me,” he said. “Before that I didn’t know what art was.”
Today, Quijada continues to draw upon his eclectic artistic beginnings.
“It was an immediate eye-opener. It was so profound,” he said. “So now I channel that window of time full of hip-hop ciphers and couple that into beautiful moments in order to continue to explore and discover.”
It was at that time Quijada imagined having his own company — a dream which eventually came true. On his artistic journey, Quijada made his way to New York, where he performed for Twyla Tharp, and eventually Montreal, where he now calls home, as a resident dancer for Les Grands Ballets Canadiens.
RubberbanDance Group was formed in 2002. It was here that Quijada employed the formal, classical and contemporary dance aesthetics that he learned during his professional dance career with the hip-hop subculture stylings that remain true to his heart. His new show, “Quotient Empirique,” reflects all of the above.
“But not as a cut-and-paste,” he said.
The show name, translated to “Empirical Quotient,” refers to hints of proven scientific facts that are gathered by one’s own experiences.
“So they might not be absolute,” Quijada said. “It’s your own perspective and belief that is the truth.”
The work employs six dancers and explores perspectives of time with themes of identity, nostalgia and regret.
“I love looking at a story from one side and then another,” he said. “It’s an umbrella of the human experience.”
Quijada says that we all play a variety of roles — sometimes the aggressor and sometimes the victim.
“And I like to see how power shifts dramatically,” he said. “I like to look at the emotional behavior that comes from actions and reactions and how they affect one another. Someone who is strong in one moment is not so strong in the next. And this work is a coming together of information to give birth to a new thing.”
Quijada says the show is “the sum of all my experiences.” And what Quijada has accomplished up to now will probably drastically change the next time he choreographs a new work — he just became the proud dad of a baby girl a month ago.
“It’s life changing. And I could use a bit of sleep,” he quipped. “It’s a matter of experience and time. We’re marked by all those moments.”
Steven Howell is the author of Montreal Essential Guide, a Sutro Media iPhone travel app available at iTunes.com.IF YOU GO WHAT: "Quotient Empirique" WHEN: Nov. 21 through 23; Nov. 27 through 30; and Dec. 4 through 7. A "Meet the Artists" session is held after the performances on Nov. 22, 29 and Dec. 6. WHERE: Place des Arts is at 175 St. Catherine St. W. (Metro station Place des Arts). ADMISSION: Tickets cost $33. A youth rate discount is available at the box office. CONTACT: Call (866) 842-2112 or visit www.pda.qc.ca or visit www.dansedanse.ca for more information.