Company 605 teams up with German Jauregui for Albatross

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Albatross is coming to the Firehall Arts Centre December 7 – 10, 2016

International dance festivals such as Vienna’s Impulstanz are not only places for displays of innovation and choreography that pushes the boundaries of the art form, but they can also be the place where international collaborations begin. Josh Martin and Hilary Maxwell of Vancouver’s Company 605 took part in Impulstanz in 2010 and it was there they met German Jauregui. Years later they approached him to choreograph a duet with them, and Albatross began.

Jauregui, a Brussels-based choreographer and member of the renowned Ultima Vez company, came to Vancouver for the first time in June 2016 to begin work on Albatross. “In the beginning we had just a few weeks — to get to know each other,” said Jauregui. “It was a slow beginning getting to know each other, to explore ideas. Then the material started to develop. The first time you meet someone you need to understand how they move, how they digest material in the context of the creative process. We’re always getting to know each other through the work.”

For those first few weeks, Jauregui came with clear ideas of how he wanted to approach the work, but things always evolve and shift as you begin collaborating and the piece begins to form. Jauregui returned to Vancouver in early November to finish the creative process and pick up where the three of them left off.   

It was clear from the beginning that the choreography would be centred on contact work, and this helped to focus the process. “We started with a lot of things resolved,” explained Jauregui. “The language was already there — that’s a big step, especially with so little time and not working together before.” Even though he is credited as choreographer, the three of them are collaborating on this creation. As Jauregui said, “I’m not imposing every single movement. It’s a total exchange. All the material grows because everybody is there; I come with ideas and we all create material.”  

In relation to Jauregui’s previous works, he said that this work is different in the sense that he’s working and collaborating with different dancers, and he feels that the personality of the work always depends on the style of the dancers. He found it to be a good challenge working with dancers with whom he isn’t as familiar, describing it as a “position of risk,” but in the end he has a theory that “you are always making the same piece.” He explained, “the focus is on different things, but it’s the same underneath. Your worries, obsessions, desires come out in the work.” The choreographer brings their particular set of worries and themes that they are constantly grappling with. I really like this theory, and I think Jauregui is on to something.

Jauregui is not sure what the end result will be, as he said, “We’re totally in the middle of the process, so it’s difficult to project.” It’s too soon to tell. “I don’t like to think about the result — I like to focus on the process.” He’s careful not to impose a certain form on the work and to let the direction come out of the process of creation. “All the doors are open still, we have to wait and see.”

The title can’t help but call to mind references of Coleridge’s The Rime of the Ancient Mariner and the famous birds featured in that story. Jauregui, fascinated by these birds, explained that they can fly for hours and hours without stopping and can even sleep while in flight. “The albatross represents a lot of the things we’re working on,” he said, “and the title refers to the spirit of the piece.” The albatross has to keep flying, has to continue, just as the dancers have to keep moving. The albatross also represents being weighed down by a burden — the Albatross around your neck — and this is manifested in the way the dancers bear each other’s weight and rely on each other.

It sounds like Jauregui, Martin, and Maxwell have a piece full of literary allusion, powerful contact, and innovative choreography in store for us. 

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