by Mirna Zagar; Executive Director, The Dance Centre
From 2003 to now, Drift has been capturing the attention of audiences world-wide. They had the same effect on me when I first saw their work unkaputbarr in 2006–a dance production of four men in which they each pursue their own interwoven destinies. In this show, no matter how many times the performers fall, they are quickly back on their feet. The world is out to get them and they have to conjure their wit and energy both physical and mental to survive. The show was simultaneously humourous and heartbreaking. I simply was mesmerized as I witnessed the world that they were unfolding relentlessly, presenting decisions and choices. And, just as you thought that there was nothing left to ponder – there was actually more to come. The action in front of me seemed dangerous but I was ready to go along. They executed movements with such resolution; they were compelling and unflinching in the process of building and crashing down. They make you believe that the absurd is the rational. They reminded me of the tragi-comic figures of Vladimir and Estragon in Waiting for Godot. The dancers reminded me of the poor clowns in Beckett’s plays: fragmentary existences, tearing their joints apart, as if they were only wet rags.
I have yet to see a company that delivers a work full of humour, charged with sophisticated intelligence, extreme sensibility and irony with such serious approach. I once overheard a critic comment that if he were a king, he would hire them as court jesters and pay them generously!
Drift’s work is characterized as surrealistic and they exhibit this with effortless ease. Resulting effects are unexpected and yes they are always absurd and at times disturbing – but executed through a specific, very personal voice. Violence and strong physicality are transformed into tenderness which causes you to simply want to surrender yourself to the experience that they offer.
Sound Machine –is an equally strange piece. It is a multi-media performance which
removes the boundaries between concert, theatre and dance. As with all of their performances, this one subtly investigates how the fantastic hides behind the bland. Sound Machine is not just sounds – the music is in fact extremely enjoyable. Where else would you be able to hear the music of tomatoes and peanuts?The Drifters are scientists that make the impossible happen and have us believe in what they present. While science attempts to discover physical truths, Drift illuminates for us the unknown possibilities of dance and theatre.
Why Drift? For all the above reasons and more. The curatorial choices made in the presentation of works through The Dance Centre’s Global Dance Connections Series and in particular when partnering with the PuSh Festival – are choices driven by the vision to nurture creativity, foster innovation and stimulate dialogue and exchange. Not only between Vancouver artists and the world, but between dance and other disciplines. Our work at The Dance Centre is geared towards ensuring a stimulating environment in which all of this can happen and to encourage curiosity among audiences. Our work at The Dance Centre aims to encourage artists to be outrageous in the shaping of worlds in which only imagination is the boundary; yet to also reflect and comment the world we live in. Our work is also geared towards encouraging dialogue between dance and other disciplines and in more ways than one. Our work at The Dance Centre also nurtures interest for all sorts of dance, and yes we also challenge the perception of what dance is today by bringing to our audiences the ever evolving forms that dance manifests itself today. Dance which is political, ethical and cultural manifestation as a way of life and as away of thinking and which as a discipline challenges our capacity to understand, negotiate and embrace cultural diversity – examining the relationships between space, place, environment; the tensions between local affiliations and universal imperatives; the transnational space-time of imagination and geography bound imaginables.
Drift is a company of artists that keep reinventing themselves, yet Drift has created a distinct signature – and, they continue to surprise each and every time, with each show and with each new piece.
Drift is the brain child of two artists, Beatric Jaccard and Philippe Schelling, who have been working together since 1987, and have since become one of the most striking phenomena in European dance, where they are still carving out a place for themselves while remaining one of the most booked dance theatre companies from Switzerland, and having performed in more than 30 countries! In 2007 Drift was awarded the Swiss Award for Dance and Choreography.
We trust that this presentation will stay with you for a lifetime. And, once you’ve seen the show ‘drifting’ somehow will never be the same.
The PuSh Festival acknowledges that it operates on the traditional, ancestral and unceded territories of the Coast Salish peoples of the xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam), Sḵwx̱wú7mesh (Squamish), and səlilwətaɬ (Tsleil-Waututh) Nations. We are grateful to be gathered here and recognize our privileged place on these lands.