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Saturday, July 20, 2024

Snakeskins reflects on transformation, molting and decay

Unable to perform at last year’s Vancouver International Dance Festival (VIDF) after breaking his arm while swimming with dolphins, Montréal-based performer and choreographer Benoît Lachambre has healed and ready to perform his award-winning Snakeskins at this year’s festival.

As its title suggests, Snakeskins is a reflection on transformation, molting and decay and a piece that Lachambre cheekily calls a “fake solo” as he is accompanied on stage by Italian dancer Daniele Albanese, and musician Hahn Rowe, who created the score and will play it live.

“Lachambre’s choreographic vision extends far beyond the physical body,” says VIDF Artistic Director, Barbara Bourget. “In it, he uses hundreds of feet of rope, a monstrous jigsaw puzzle, and metal scaffolding to create a playground for compelling, complex imagery.”

Playing with images, Lachambre creates a multimedia visual work with projections used as sources of lights, but there is also a dark side to the work. The work also reveals the typical somatic approach that Lachambre uses in his choreography and even when dancers play with gravity, forces and pulls, the body constantly fluctuates. Some moments might look very painful, hard and strenuous, but the support of this fluctuation transforms the dance into energy, and into pleasurable moments. “The piece is always quite comfortable,” confirms Lachambre.

As with many of Lachambre’s dance works, Snakeskins has moments of improvisation, although it is also very much scripted. Born from his desire to work with the photographs of Christine Rose Divito, costume and props designer Alexandra Bertaut inserts Divito’s photos into the piece as part of the costumes and scenography.

Par B.L.eux’s Snakeskins plays as part of the 2015 Vancouver International Dance Festival March 12-14 at the Roundhouse Community Centre (181 Roundhouse Mews, Vancouver). Visit for tickets and information. Lachambre will also teach a dance master calls on Friday, March 13.

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