I: Note of artistic intent of CUTLASS SPRING 

She is not present in their pornography.
She is not found in their eroticisms.

She is not even a part of her own fantasy world.


CUTLASS SPRING is what sex might mean to me right now. I will roam inside a question: How might I locate my sexual identity within a multitude of complimentary and seemingly contradictory identities – as a performer, as a mother, as a daughter, as a lover, as a stranger? I will map a sexual education – with all of its embodiments, fabrications, and disassociations. I will follow these trajectories toward their softest core so as to discover what I hold back and what I make explicit.

She will solicit her body and all of the many things that go with her person. She will realize what remains within her for sexual contemplation.

Inching towards uncensorship, engaging the infinite potential of everyday objects, CUTLASS SPRING is, at once, a manifesto and a heated reflection, an ethnography of sexual understanding and an archaeology of desire.

Dana Michel & Michael Nardone

II: Artistic statement

No Fixed Positions
No Fixed Positions
No Fixed Positions

An amalgam of intuitive improvisation, choreography, and performance art, my artistic practice is rooted in exploring the multiplicity of identity. I work with notions of performative alchemy and lucid dreaming – using personal history, current preoccupations, and future desires to create an empathetic centrifuge of live moments between myself and witnesses. Today, my work can perhaps be described by some of its influences and inhabitations: sculpture, cinematography, comedy, hip-hop, psychology, dub, and social commentary.

In research, I alternate between the work that takes place in and out of the studio. After pouring over a subject via writing, reading, video, and discussion – I relax my focus and let the body take over. I feed myself with sound, silence, and dissonance – at times over-stuffing my body and psyche with stimulation to encounter its response. Then, minute details pop into my kinetic vision. They manifest movements, resonations, colors, textures, and certain experiences of light. These details clarify the trajectory of the work. Using difficulty as a navigational methodology comes naturally and coerces my performances into places of emergency and vulnerability. This is where I am able to listen at closest range, and to share with the least hesitation. Thinking about beings as mathematical proofs or portals, made up of billions of possibilities, deepens this listening.

My offering is a repository that remains open to interpretation, a vast space for encountering and broadening one’s own logic of seeing and experiencing.

Dana Michel


III: Notes from the artist about the performance 

when you’ve spent a lifetime holding back in one area, surely it’s holding other areas back.

time to unravel the knot that i didn’t completely realize existed (yes i did).

why i can’t touch people when i?

why i get confused when there’s more?

why i freeze now?

what are the consequences of all the holding?

what other casualties have there been?


IV: Notes from the artist about the performance

I’ve always been obsessed with...“sex stuff”. My much older sister majored in Psychology in University, and so I spent my childhood often sneakily pouring over her textbooks, always particularly fascinated with her human sexuality textbooks. These memories came flooding back this past year when my five-year old started receiving special sexual education workshops at his daycare. It made me think that it was time to renew my own sex ed knowledge.

While i work with the body and movement in my work as a live artist, I have noticed an increasing disconnection with myself as a sexual being over the past 20 years. This widening fissure has stricken me as particularly troubling as i have always had a particularly keen interest in sexual investigation and a somewhat latent (and admittedly giggly!) interest in becoming a sexologist. In my past two works, I have to some extent been exploring the idea of repression – how I had been repressing certain aspects of my cultural identity and the repercussions of this kind of withholding. Moving further towards uncovering buried facets of my human composition, I would now like to delve into what has become the mystery of my sexual self and how it affects me as a human, a performer, a mother, a lover.

A couple of major questions, for instance: – How does a lifetime of hiding affect how we connect to others? – What are the effects of repression on how one loves, how one shares physical space with others, and how one shares their body with others?

 

BIO
 

Dana Michel is a choreographer and live artist. Her works interact with the expanded fields of improvisation, sculpture, hip-hop, comedy, cinematography, dub, and social commentary to create centrifuge of experience. Before graduating from the BFA program in Contemporary Dance at Concordia University in her late twenties, Michel was a marketing executive, competitive runner and football player. In 2014, she was awarded the newly created ImPulsTanz Award (Vienna) in recognition for outstanding artistic accomplishments, and was highlighted among notable female choreographers of the year by the New York Times. In 2017, Michel was awarded the Silver Lion for Innovation in Dance at the Venice Biennale. In 2018, she became the first ever dance artist in residence at the National Arts Centre, Canada. Recently, Dana Michel has been awarded the ANTI Festival International Prize for Live Art. Based in Montreal, Michel is an associate artist with Par B.L.eux.

Her solo Mercurial George was presented at CAMPO in 2017.

 

CREDITS

by & with Dana Michel artistic activators Ellen Furey, Peter James, Mathieu Léger, Heidi Louis, Roscoe Michel, Yoan Sorin, Karlyn Percil & Alanna Stuart sound consultancy David Drury lighting design Karine Gauthier technical direction Karine Gauthier production Dana Michel executive production Par B.L.eux co-production Kunstenfestivaldesarts (Belgium), Arsenic - Centre d’art scénique contemporain Lausanne (Switzerland), Rosendal Teaterl (Norway), Black Box Teater (Norway), Centre Chorégraphique National d’Orléans (France), Centre National des Arts (Ottawa, Canada), Festival TransAmériques (Montreal, Canada), Julidans (Netherlands), Montpellier Danse (France) & Moving in November (Finland) distribution Key Performance co-produced with the support of the Visiting Dance Artist Program, a joint initiative of the National Arts Centre and the Canada Council for the Arts creative residencies Centre Chorégraphique National d’Orléans (France), Centre National des Arts (Ottawa, Canada), CounterPulse (San Francisco, États Unis), Dancemakers (Toronto, Canada), da:ns lab (Singapour), Galerie du Dourven – Passerelle Centre d’art contemporain (France), Kunstenfestivaldesarts (Belgique), PAF - Performing Arts Forum (France), Par B.L.eux (Montreal, Canada), Usine C (Montreal, Canada), Reykjavik Dance Festival (Islande), Tanzhaus Zurich (Suisse)