Part 2: Choreographer Victor Quijada shares the story behind his unique style of dance

This week we bring you the second part of our exclusive two-part interview with the award winning choreographer and creative director of RUBBERBANDance Group, Victor Quijada. His work, which examines human relationships through a seamless marriage of classical, contemporary, and urban aesthetics, is performed internationally.

In part two, Quijada shares with us the process of choreographing Gravity of Center ( opening at The Cultch Feb 19) as well as the process of adapting the stage production to film.

SC: Gravity of Center is the ninth work you’ve choreographed with RUBBERBANDance and many say that it’s perhaps your greatest work yet. What do you think sets this piece apart from your other works?

VQ: I think that it comes down to the fact that I simply had more experience when I created it, and a lot more practice. I had already tried out so many of my ideas, and all of those experiments with those old ideas (successful or not) were informing this new, bigger challenge. This piece really was a much bigger challenge that I had placed in front of me. However I was also more prepared and ready to take on this challenge.

Also, I had a great cast. Plus, my past experiences had taught me so much about casting and directing. Overall, I was a better director and a better choreographer during this creation. Also, I must say that having a great cast, and a great team of collaborators helped make this piece one of the best we’ve had.

This is the most narrative work I’ve ever made and I was surprised at how challenging it was to actually accomplish this. In the end, I’m very proud of it.

SC: Gravity of Center explores the idea that everyone is both at the center of the world and orbiting around others. Can you elaborate on this idea?

VQ: ,Simply put: At times we are followers, at other times we lead. There are moments when we take care of others, and moments when we are taken care of. We all want to be independent, but the truth is that we need each other. I believe this is true in the micro, as well as in the macro.

SC: How do you explore this idea through movement?

VQ: I was interested in behavioural phenomena that were found in both animals and in humans: herd and pack mentality, migratory and nomadic tendancies, and social hierarchy, specifically looking at dominant and submissive roles within a group.

SC: What was your inspiration when choreographing Gravity of Center?

VQ: I was inspired by my dancers, by composer Jasper Gahunia; my conversations with lighting designer Yan Lee Chan. I was also inspired by films and the craft of screenwriting.

SC: Can you talk about the process of adapting Gravity of Center from a stage performance to film? What were some of the challenges and considerations?

VQ: The biggest challenge was scaling down the 75 minute journey into a much smaller time frame. On the other hand I was very excited to work with Thibaut Duverneix as a co-director and with cinematographer Christophe Collette. I was confident that we would be able to achieve the contrasting sense of grandeur and subtlety in this film.

SC: How do you hope to inspire or transform Vancouver audiences when performing Gravity of Center on The Cultch stage?

VQ: I hope audiences get that feeling I get sometimes after seeing a great film that is so rich and so complete that I keep thinking about for days, weeks afterward. There are some films that keep me aware of my breathing, they keep me aware of my surroundings. They keep me on the lookout for something amazing to happen, or to take a chance to try something new, or to be ready for an adventure.

It’s as if in my brain I am saying, “Well, it happened in the film, and there was a writer that thought it up, and there was a director that brought it to life, and there were these talented actors that made me believe, so… VICTOR, DO SOMETHING!!”

Gravity of Centre runs at The Cultch February 19 – 23, 2013. Tickets start at $17 and can be purchased at tickets.thecultch.com, by phone at 604.251.1363, or in person at The Cultch Box Office, 1895 Venables St.

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