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Snell Thouin Project
Beijing Modern Dance Company
Choreographer: Nadine Thouin

March 18, 19 & 20, 2004
Place des Arts

“A veritable hymn to life, China Times, China

Charged with energy, flamboyantly beautiful, Os (Bone in English) connects the visionary universe of choreographer Nadine Thouin with the extraordinary talents of the dancers of the Beijing Modern Dance Company, China’s premier exponents of modern dance. Twelve dancers and four musicians bring vitality and sensibility to the enactment of a timeless drama as beautiful as it is tragic: Man’s struggle against Nature.

Nadine Thouin’s inventive, troubling choreography is backed up by Jerry Snell’s music—a compelling blend of rock with sacred and ritual idioms—as interpreted live by musicians of Chinese and Canadian origin on instruments drawn from the two cultures. Integrated into the performance are videos by Canadian filmmaker Daniel Cross (SPIT-The Street) and another of Axel Morgenthaler’s magisterial lighting concepts. Small wonder that Os was described by the China Times as a “trail blazing performance...that points in the direction of a new artistic current.”

The first-ever Sino-Canadian coproduction, the genesis of Os can be traced to the encounter in 1999 between Willy Tsao, the father of modern dance in China and artistic director of the Beijing Modern Dance Company, and Nadine Thouin and Jerry Snell, the two founders and directors of the Snell Thouin Project. Together they developed a creative harmony that finally came to full fruition with the premiere of Os in October 2002, in Beijing.

Between 1985 and 1996, choreographer, dancer and performance artist Nadine Thouin created a dozen works staged at numerous international festivals in North America, Europe and Asia. In 1996 she founded, with Jerry Snell, a “physical theatre” company, which was baptized STP (Snell Thouin Project). As an STP founder, Nadine Thouin is regularly invited to create pieces for festivals, for the most part in Germany, Belgium and Spain. She is also in frequent demand for master classes alongside such acclaimed artists as Suzanne Linke, Eugenio Barba and Carolyn Carlson at events such as London’s International Workshop Festival, International Tanzwochen Wien/Pro Series and China’s Experimental Theatre Festival of Guangzhou. Os is her 21st creation.

Multidisciplinary artist Jerry Snell has composed music for the cinema, the stage and for performance art shows. He brought out his first album, Life in the Suicide Riots, in 1993. In 2001, he launched Cash, l’album following the performance of the same name. In the fall of 2003 the CD version of Os will be introduced in China during a tour that will include Beijing, Canton and Shanghai. A founding member of Carbone 14, in which he was involved between 1980 and 1995, Jerry Snell also participated in several films, including Un zoo la nuit by Jean-Claude Lauzon, Map of the Human Heart by Vincent Ward, François Girard’s Le Dortoir, and Pierre Falardeau’s 15 février 1839.

Founded in Paris in 1996, STP was conceived as an international touring company. Its founders employ dance, theatre, live music and images (video and film) to break through linguistic and cultural barriers. A combination of minimalist stage settings and universal themes enables them to travel far from the beaten track. One of their latest creations, Cash, la performance, has already toured extensively in Thailand, Malaysia, China, Korea and Mongolia.

“Evocative, troubling, surrealistic and spiritual, Cash is a powerful show.” Day and Night, Malaysia

Cash, with its convincing fusion of dance, theatre, live music and film, had a hypnotic effect on the Korean public. The piece seemed to reveal the subconscious of contemporary society.” TV KBS, Seoul, Korea

To date, STP has presented nine original productions, including Untitled Work (a Canada-Malaysia coproduction, 2001), Closing Ceremony (a Canada-Mongolia copresentation, 2001), Bridge of Ghosts (a Canada-Korea coproduction, 2001), and of course Cash, which have played on the stages of some forty cities in twenty countries.

Founded in 1995, the Beijing Modern Dance Company boasts China’s finest interpreters. In 1996, its talented choreographers and dancers won for it the Wen Hua Award, China’s national dance prize, and it 1999, the year that Willy Tsao was appointed artistic director, it brought home the Bielorussian International Choreography Grand Prize. Recognized for its efforts at integrating the country’s diversity of ethnic groups and cultures into the new Chinese context, the Beijing Modern Dance Company is also the instigator and moving force behind the annual Beijing Modern Dance Festival held in May. This same Willy Tsao is cofounder of the Guangdong Modern Dance Company, as well as founder and artistic director of the City Contemporary Dance Company, Hong Kong.

April 2003

Photos: Courtoisie BMDC, Ringo