Sweden’s Memory Wax and Cuba’s Danza Teatro Retazos present Crisálida and Possible Impossible at the 2016 Vancouver International Dance Festival.
Sweden’s Memory Wax and Cuba’s Danza Teatro Retazos present Crisálida and Possible Impossible at the 2016 Vancouver International Dance Festival.

Talk about hands across borders, dance companies from Sweden and Cuba come together to present a double-bill of Canadian premieres at this year’s Vancouver International Dance Festival.

Co-produced by international collaborators Sweden’s Memory Wax and Cuba’s Danza Teatro Retazos, Crisálida and Possible Impossible explore the tensions between isolation and belonging, reality and fantasy, in a variety of mediums that include video projection, masks, props, and pantomime.

“Showcasing the rhythmic movement sensibilities of Cuba, combined with surreal, dreamlike imagery, both Crisálida and Possible Impossible will challenge our perception of reality and the power of imagination,” says Barbara Bourget, artistic director of the Vancouver International Dance Festival. “Audiences will undoubtedly be moved by the co-productions’ sense of invention paired with their spirited, highly physical contemporary attitude,”

Choreographed by Memory Wax co-founder Miguel Azcue, both works are a result of a four-year exchange between the Swedish and Cuban dance companies. Both pieces feature artists from both Cuba and Scandinavia. Born in Havana, Azcue founded Retazos in 1987, and has danced professionally throughout Cuba, Ecuador, the USA, Norway, Sweden, and France.

“Born out of a cultural exchange initiative between two inventive, luminary contemporary dance companies, the performances on offer promise a refreshingly lighthearted yet transformative dance experience, reflecting on the boundaries of the human condition,” continues Bourget.

Seeing its world premiere in Cuba last year, Crisálida is a whimsical exploration of personal freedom juxtaposed against humanity’s innate desire for belonging and sense of community. An imaginative story told with humour and lyricism, the work follows eight Cuban dancers through everyday life scenes enhanced by an otherworldly dream sequence where memories and desires are intertwined. A contemporary dance piece at its core, Crisálida also features elements of pantomime, hip-hop, and folklore, creating characters that range from the cartoonish to the existential.

A celebration of Memory Wax’s ten-year anniversary and long-time partnership with Danza Teatro Retazos, Possible Impossible was first presented in Europe in 2014. Featuring seven Retazos performers, this multimedia work is set in a celestial landscape, where all known laws of time, space, and power cease to exist as a meditation on the boundaries of the human condition.

Crisálida and Possible Impossible play as part of the 2016 Vancouver International Dance Festival on March 11 and 12 at the Vancouver Playhouse (600 Hamilton St, Vancouver). Visit http://vidf.ca for tickets and information.