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    22/05  | 19:00
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€ 16 / € 13

Is holding onto one specific sexuality a form of repression? At what cost? At whose cost? It is time to unravel a tangle that maybe you didn’t even know it existed. Canadian artist Dana Michel breaks through conventions with her daring choreographies. By way of dance and performance, she gives shape to different bodies and ideas that leave the well-trodden paths of stereotypical physicality and identity. Her work can best be described by its influences: sculpture, cinematography, comedy, psychology and social reflection. In earlier work Michel explored the repression of cultural identity. Her latest creation, CUTLASS SPRING, delves into multiple facets of human sexuality. Michel explores how cultural repression and her life as a performer, a mother and a lover have shaped her sexual identity.

See also: Free School: The Politics of Sexuality

Created and performed by: Dana Michel
Artistic activators: Ellen Furey, Peter James, Mathieu Léger, Heidi Louis, Roscoe Michel, Yoan Sorin, Karlyn Percil, Alanna Stuart
Sound consultant: David Drury
Lighting design: Karine Gauthier
Technical direction: Caroline Nadeau and Karine Gauthier

Presentation: Kunstenfestivaldesarts, Beursschouwburg
Production: Dana Michel
Executive production: Par B.L.eux
Coproduction: Kunstenfestivaldesarts, Arsenic (Switzerland), Bastard Festival (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
Creative residencies: Beursschouwburg, Centre Chorégraphique National d’Orléans (France), Centre National des Arts (Ottawa, Canada), CounterPulse (San Francisco, United States), Dancemakers (Toronto, Canada), Galerie du Dourven (France), PAF - Performing Arts Forum (France), Par B.L.eux (Montreal, Canada), Usine C (Montreal, Canada), Reykjavik Dance Festival (Island), Tanzhaus Zurich (Switzerland)
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

Dana Michel is associate artist of Par B.L.eux

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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 under-standing and an archaeology of desire.

Dana Michel & Michael Nardone


No Fixed Positions
No Fixed Positions
No Fixed Positions

An amalgam of intuitive improvisation, choreo-graphy, 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, colours, 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


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?


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 compo-sition, 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?

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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, she has been shortlisted for the ANTI Festival International Prize for Live Art. Michel is currently touring two solo performance works, Yellow Towel and Mercurial George. She will premier her new solo performance work, CUTLASS SPRING, in 2019. Based in Montreal, Michel is an associate artist with Par B.L.eux.

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