We are META. Our body is not one thing. We are fluid, messy and protean. We are fragments creating loops with ourselves and others.
doors, bar, pre-shows: 7pm
post-show social: 9pm
see our digital program below; click on names for bios/links
conceived + produced by
created + performed by
costume + set
graphic + web designers
bar manager + party helper
funded + supported by
special thank you to Barbara Bourget, Vanessa Goodman, Ziyian Kwan, plastic orchid factory, Jim Dobbs, Shawn Sorensen, Liam Hunt, Kristina Lemieux, Dad and Sherry, Mom and Keith, Olivia C. Davies, Carolina Bergonzoni, Jamee Valin, Karissa Barry and The Dance Centre staff (including Raquel Alvaro, Heather Bray, Anna Dueck, Alice Jones, Hilary Maxwell, Robin Naiman, Katrina Nguyen, Daniel O'Shea, Mirna Zagar) for their additional support
tracks used in music mix by Flying Lotus, Sade, Vittorio Santerelli Feat Mikie Blak, Lisa Millett + David Anthony, Durban's Finest, Boddhi Satva, This Mortal Coil, NU
Kim Sato, Justine A. Chambers, Deanna Peters; photo Yvonne Chew
Below, accompanying writer Alexa Mardon is creating a series of responses to META:
I am everywhere all at once.
blink I am behind you, blink I am at the edge of the curtain. blink I am at the party, where are you? blink I am the hand around your glass. blink I am the DJ. the quiet room and the loud one. blink I am the hallway and the gossip in it, the kind that licks the sickness away. blink I see you but you probably can’t see me.
Q: how far does it need to go for it to be seen?
A: it starts in the mouth and swallows down. gurgle. it reminds me of earlier this week when i gulped in air with my sip of water and I had to wait for the pressure to release, like a valve in me I didn’t know I had. it was like hot, sucking, hurt. in those few minutes I had a new way of measuring time, tongue to tail.
Q: what if we all did an arm but they were all different?
A: the veins in my hands seem closer to the surface than they were before. I think about time on the body, time in the body. it’s different dancing this today than it was dancing it last week. I think it’s good, this difference. it makes me understand what courses through me, what got me here.
Q: can we arrive to where we’re going?
A: probably not.
Q: what if we could never turn?
A: I like that part, the heavy swing and we almost bonk heads. I read this study once that people lost in the desert or forest in overcast weather or in the dark really do walk in circles.
Q: does it need to go on longer?
A: that depends what you find here, how long you can stay with it.
Q: what is your solid?
A: skin, hair, muscles, flank, flank, stomp, huff, spit, spit.
Q: is it about rigidity?
A: either 1) only if you make it, or 2) gyroscope: an apparatus consisting of a rotating wheel so mounted that its axis can turn freely in certain or all directions, capable of maintaining the same absolute direction in space in spite of movements of the mountings: used to maintain equilibrium and to determine direction.
Q: then where is the tension?
A: in different relationships to power, to softness, layering, making themselves known. under the jaw. behind the eyes. breathe. breathe. again.
Q: should we try that again, or should we just leave it?
A: the traces of it stay here, all of our cells as islands, little masses containing everything in the sea of ourselves.
Q: did I make that weird?
A: part of it is always hidden, it’s hard to know what till after, usually. what gets obscured unfolds in you, slowly, later.
top: screenshot from The Prisoner; bottom: Deanna Peters, photo Yvonne Chew
The image is of three women facing forward. Their hands slide and carve in repetition over their bodies, finding grooves (under breast, up, side of neck, around, tuck of elbow, under). Their hands are methodical, rhythmic. These three women are touching themselves and it is so matter of fact. The straightforwardness of it is sexy, and heartbreaking.
Deanna Peters, Justine A. Chambers, Kim Sato; photo Yvonne Chew
Men always want to talk about dancing bodies as machines or architecture, as a series of systems and lines to understand, to pin down, to look at. There, looking is a kind of owning: three dimensionality is alright so long as it’s representable. Here, looking happens with the body. Warm hands, the sound of skin sliding on skin. This living architecture is impossible to impose order onto because cells divide continuously. Of themselves, of themselves, of themselves. Sometimes a hand finds a crevice (collarbone, armpit) and the pleasure is so clear.
These verbs hold privacy, hold labour, hold intimacy. Here in the studio, I am a guest of this moment, and I treat it with the care it asks for.
The past few days, my newsfeed has been full of people making visible the violence that has visited, is visiting, has taken up residence in their bodies. Like with constellations appearing brighter as the night grows darker, my feed has densified with the glare of two words. Last night I deleted the Facebook app off my phone and tried to watch a TV show to shake my visitors, the lit pinholes appearing in the obscura of my body. The show I ended up choosing was about a near future in which fertile women are enslaved in order to reproduce for the totalitarian state. I closed my laptop, turned off the light and slept deeply, dreaming of being doomed to argue the story of my body against the brutal barb of detached logic until I was so tired I lay down again, asleep within a sleep.
When I was in grade school we learned all the ways to measure our bodies with our bodies. The length of your forearm equals the length of your foot. Length of hand equals length of face. The eyes are separated by one eye’s width. Total height is 7 to 7.5 heads tall. To calibrate yourself is to be surprised by what is already there, to delight in the perfection of some higher choreography. In a capitalist dailyness bereft of spirituality, it can be nice, and disconcerting, to see yourself as a part of a whole. Cell structures mirroring star matter.
The image is of three women sending themselves into space, finding spring, levering, launching, bouncing, slicing and then softening. Breaking up time with the parts of them that fold and unfold. There is an invitation here to stay awhile, if you are willing to try looking without demanding. Their dancing is the reference point for their dancing. It is my soft manual for looking, at their bodies and my own.
We are practicing our moves for the party in silence because we need to hear the different ways our limbs rush the air past.
I’m watching you. You close your eyes and I can’t see you anymore, I can only feel the thwup and shhunck of your forearm cutting the moment in half. We are practicing our moves for the party in silence because it is late and everyone else has gone to bed. We don’t need to talk about what we are doing, but if we did, we would whisper.
I bring the lamp down from the attic, the pleated one with the warm orange light. We are practicing our moves in a silence that’s full. It’s full of serious business and the number of times we’ve changed our outfits and the apple you brought me which is sitting half eaten near the radiator. Earlier this afternoon, you said something today about how it’s possible to make our bodies solid like packed dirt or porous like a colander. We were sitting in the soft room with all the windows open like no blinking. I imagined that there was no difference between inside/outside. I imagined that the weather moved through me.
soft medium loud warm hard dirt slip same same same
Justine A. Chambers; photo Deanna Peters
Once I stayed outside in winter so long it took hours for the feeling to come back into my hands. I took a bath and the rest of me got warm, eventually, but my hands didn’t. I traced them over my body like a superstition. Like someone else’s hands but I couldn’t tell which parts I was just learning and what I had always known. Later, maybe a few weeks, I dreamt that my body was escaping from the confines of my skin and I had to use my new strong other hands to collect my bones, organs, tissues, back into myself. Packed up tightly. Same. Same. I woke up sweating and spent the rest of the day careful to keep a pocket of air between myself and myself, holding my shirt out from my torso like a tent, stepping into my pant legs like a horse onto a boat.
hand blink blink go ah tight
I have a photograph of all three of us from around that same time. We’re looking straight ahead. You’re standing behind me and your hand is slid up the back of my jacket, blooming out near my right ear. It could be anyone’s. We’re all wearing dark coloured pants and our six legs make a thick trunk against the bright white of the weather. Our own little island, foregrounded.
stay stay shift touch and
In the warm orange light, you repeat a move over and over again. It is like the sound of my favourite CD skipping and I don’t get up to change it because I know what comes next and the wait is painful and good like a toothache. We are almost ready. Everyone is waiting for us to bring the moves.