”By any standard, Dis/(sol/ve)r, Christopher House’s curiously titled new work for Toronto Dance Theatre, is extraordinary.” (The Dance Current)
The Toronto Dance Theatre is back in Montreal with the latest work by its artistic director, Christopher House. One of the most talented and unpredictable choreographers in Canada, House once again reinvents his vocabulary in Dis/(sol/ve)r, a piece for 9 dancers that underscores the uncertainty and evanescence of encounters, of romance. Highly energetic and engaging.
”It is another multilayered House piece, created by a master dancemaker. […] Dis/(sol/ve)r is a satisfying, intelligent dance performed by superb dancers.” (The Globe and Mail)
Inspired by the theory of elementary particles, Dis/(sol/ve)r evokes the invisible forces governing the phenomena of attraction, repulsion and dispersion. At the heart of the work, however, is the notion of disintegration: of love and relationships, be they affective, familial or friendly. Bonds are forged and then broken, and the most fiery passions burn out over time, all part of the natural processes of dispersion, disintegration, entropy.
”The most intriguingly sophisticated dance creation by Christopher House in recent memory—one that draws you into its subtle design during the performance and one that rewards reflection long after the dance is over.” (stageandpage.com)
Presented in its world premiere in Toronto on November 18, 2008, Dis/(sol/ve)r reveals a new facet of the world of Christopher House. Known for shaping his gestural vocabulary in function of the themes explored, House here lends his movement an entirely new dimension: “It does not look like any previous work, with its angles, distortions, flexes and sudden impulses.” (The Globe and Mail)
“I like learning new things. Every time I do a new piece, it’s about asking questions that even I don’t find any answers to; it’s about going to that place of experimentation and play.” (Christopher House, interviewed in fabmagazine.com)
The artistic director of Toronto Dance Theatre since 1994, Christopher House is among Canada’s pre-eminent choreographers. Born in St. John’s, Newfoundland, he studied political science and philosophy before switching to theatre and dance. Considering himself more an “enthusiast” than an intellectual, House is blessed with an insatiable curiosity. His keen interest in travel, science, the visual arts, cinema and literature continue to inform his work. House also derives inspiration from the personalities and talents of the twelve dancers in his company—almost all graduates of the TDT school—and from his collaborations with other artists on each of his productions.
Early choreographies such as Glass Houses and Vena Cava were praised for their “kinetic brilliance” (New York Times) and “formidable craft and vision“ (Globe and Mail). Since 2000, when TDT premiered Nest to critical acclaim, House has specialized in full-length multi-disciplinary works, including Severe Clear and Persephone’s Lunch, which examine such themes as the creative process, the ambiguity of signs and the manufacture of memory. His most recent works for TDT are Timecode Break (2006) and Chiasmata (2007). Part of the 2007 Danse Danse season, Timecode Break was named “Best Canadian Work” by the Globe and Mail in 2006 and won three Dora Mavor Moore Awards in 2007: Best Choreography, Best Production, Best Musical Score/Soundtrack.
In addition to TDT, Christopher House has created choreographies for such companies as Portugal’s Ballet Gulbenkian, the National Ballet of Canada, Les Grands Ballets Canadiens de Montréal and Ballet British Columbia, as well as for such soloists as Peggy Baker, Guillaume Côté and Laurence Lemieux.
As a dancer, House has performed in his own creations, as well as those of other choreographers, including Sarah Chase, Peter Chin, David Earle, James Kudelka, Mark Morris, Peter Randazzo and Deborah Hay. As a guest artist with Les Grands Ballets Canadiens de Montréal, he performed the title role in Michel Fokine’s Petrouchka. His adaptation of Deborah Hay’s News was presented in Toronto in December 2006, and at the Canada Dance Festival in June 2008.
In 2003 Christopher House directed his first short film, Falling Gothic Green, which was screened at the Moving Pictures Festival in Toronto, and at other festivals in Canada, Europe and Asia.
A distinguished instructor, House teaches at the Toronto Dance Theatre, and has also given courses at Simon Fraser University, the Juilliard School in New York, the Ateliers de danse moderne in Montreal, Jacob’s Pillow (Massachusetts), and the Academy of Dance in Rotterdam.
Toronto Dance Theatre
Devoted to the creation of original Canadian works, the Toronto Dance Theatre celebrated its 40 anniversary in 2008. Co-founded by Patricia Beatty, David Earle and Peter Randazzo, all of whom were trained at the Martha Graham school, the organization has had a profound influence on dance in Canada. A centre for creation and training, the TDT was initially under the artistic direction of its founders. In addition to presenting their own creations, the trio commissioned other choreographers, including James Kudelka and Tedd Robinson. In 1994 Christopher House was appointed artistic director. Since then, the Toronto Dance Theatre has become internationally recognized for its intelligent, visually stunning contemporary productions. In the winter of 2009, TDT presented Up Until Now, choreographed by Deborah Hay.
In addition to performing regularly at Toronto’s Harbourfront Centre and its own Winchester Street Theatre, the company tours throughout Canada, and in the United States, Europe and Asia. Under House’s direction, TDT has also developed a variety of new programs, including Four at the Winch, a showcase for emerging choreographers in which experimentation and risk-taking are encouraged, and The Process Revealed, a presentation series that demystifies the creative process and encourages public discussion. The Professional Training Program of The School of TDT, established in 1979, has served as a foundation and source of inspiration for generations of dancers.
Choreography: Christopher House
Set: Cheryl Lalonde
Costumes: Philip Sparks
Music: Phil Strong
With 9 dancers
Photos: David Hou
Duration: 65 minutes – without intermission