PuSh Blog

PuSh Festival presents Powerhouse Fusion of Dance, Live Music, and Light in Western Canadian premiere of – FRONTERA –

November 13, 2019

Frontera performance, dancers in front of columns of light
Photo: ©Adrián Morillo

Dana Gingras’ Animals of Distinction partners with Fly Pan Am
and United Visual Artists in timely exploration of borders and surveillance

Vancouver, BC — PuSh International Performing Arts Festival (PuSh) presents the Western Canadian premiere of Montreal choreographer Dana Gingras’ visually arresting new work, FRONTERA, for one-night only, January 30, 2020 at 8pm at the Queen Elizabeth Theatre. Gingras and her internationally lauded dance company, Animals of Distinction, collaborate with the experimental post-rock band Fly Pan Am and members of the UK-based collective United Visual Artists to create a provocative multimedia experience of motion, sound, and light. The dancers on stage explore notions of individual and political agency within a contested space of borderlands — both real and imagined.

In FRONTERA, 10 dancers take to the stage amid pulsing flashes and towering vertical rays of light. The dancers react to the clarion call of the driving music and the whims of the lighting, becoming wildly shifting forms in a singular struggle between impulse and design. Columns of light alternately guide, divide, and entrap the dancers, but ultimately cannot defeat their fearless physicality and ingenuity. Apart from the bodies of the performers, there are no solid structures on stage. Borders, fences, and walls are showcased as luminous virtual constructs — reflecting their roles in our lives.

The scenography by United Visual Artists amplifies Fly Pan Am’s live music and field recordings from David Bryant of Godspeed You! Black Emperor. The performance by Animals of Distinction features: Robert Abubo, Justin de Luna, Léna Demnati, Stacey Désilier, Caroline Gravel, Louise Michel Jackson, Mark Sawh Medrano, Koliane Rochon Prom Tep, Sovann Rochon Prom Tep, and Lexi Vajda.

Animals of Distinction, the multimedia dance company of renowned choreographer and dancer Gingras, presents work that is largely shaped by new technologies and cultural shifts. Gingras has been at the forefront of innovation in Canadian dance, having led the acclaimed avant garde company Holy Body Tattoo before founding Animals of Distinction in 2006. Over her career she has collaborated with icons like writer William Gibson, conceptual artist Jenny Holzer, and bands from Grammy Award-winning Arcade Fire to underground legends The Tiger Lillies.

“PuSh audiences were utterly floored by our 2016 presentation of Gingras’ extraordinary work monumental,with Noam Gagnon, The Holy Body Tattoo, and Godspeed You! Black Emperor,” says Franco Boni,

Executive and Artistic Director of PuSh. “We are thrilled to bring back one of Canada’s most excitingchoreographers with her latest ambitious work. FRONTERA challenges our notions of borders and surveillance at a moment when these concepts feel all-encompassing and incredibly urgent. Bodies have always rebelled against the dominant narrative put forward by the state, and this work argues that we are moving algorithmically through the world, rather than rhythmically. Gingras’ work unflinchingly these tensions in a large-scale format, creating a space for confrontation and reflection amidst a frenetically paced, mesmerizing scene.”

Fly Pan Am was formed in Montreal in 1996 and is comprised of Roger Tellier-Craig, Jonathan Parant, J.S. Truchy, Félix Morel, and Eric Gingras. After successful tours in which they shared bills with Do Make Say Think, Stereolab, and other Montreal experimental bands, Fly Pan Am went on an extended hiatus in 2005. They reunited last year and released C’est ça in September 2019, their first album in 14 years.

United Visual Artists was founded in 2003 by British artist Matt Clark. Their diverse body of work integrates new technologies with traditional media such as sculpture, performance, and site-specific installation. The

FRONTERA will make its world premiere in Quebec City on November 20, 2019, and will tour to Montreal’s Place des Arts from December 4–7, 2019. Following its Vancouver performance at PuSh on January 30, 2020, the work will travel to Ottawa’s National Arts Centre on February 19–20, 2020. The production will also open the Sydney Festival and Berlin’s CTM Festival in January 2020.

FRONTERA is the first creation of the long-term, two-year residency program at the Centre de Création O Vertigo (CCOV), awarded to Gingras for the inaugural 2017–2019 period. CCOV is the executive producer of FRONTERA, which was developed with support from the National Arts Centre’s National Creation Fund.

PuSh will unveil the full 2020 festival line-up at a program announcement party on November 27 from 7– 9pm at Central Studios (856 Seymour Street).


January 30, 2020 at 8pm

From $39, including fees

Early Bird Offer: $20 off tickets in Price Level 1 ($79.50) and Price Level 2 ($59) until Nov. 27

Queen Elizabeth Theatre 630 Hamilton Street Vancouver, BC

604.449.6000 / tickets@pushfestival.ca pushfestival.ca