LAND BRIDGE, a new evening-length work by choreographer Helen Simoneau will investigate heritage, assimilation and identity to reveal how the willing erasure of the self may serve as a means of renewal and redirection. Examined abstractly through the lens of caribou, the iconic and threatened species from Simoneau’s native Canada, this most powerful member of the deer family serves as a trail guide for the work.
As a Québécoise living and working in the United States, the daughter of an Anglophone mother and Francophone father, Simoneau draws upon the duality of living between two languages to explore both immigrating and migrating forms. What is the impact of arriving and of departing? LAND BRIDGE considers the patterns and tendencies implicit in both human and animal behavior. Anchored by a shared sense of community, assimilation occurs, but only so much may be erased. What is it that disappears? What remains? What newness arises from erasure?
With an innovative approach to content through visual and sonic explorations, complexity will be given form through dynamic choreography for six performers with support from a renowned creative team, including highly acclaimed composer and flutist Nathalie Joachim who shares with Simoneau the experience of navigating acclimation. LAND BRIDGE marks Simoneau’s most extensive team of collaborators to date with Reid Bartelme returning to design costumes and Steven Cook providing dramaturgical support. Joachim will create and record an original music composition with involvement throughout the choreographic process from conception to premiere. Pulling from personal history as a first generation Haitian-American, Joachim has a keen interest in exploring identity, heritage, culture, survival, resistance and acceptance. In collaboration with Simoneau, she plans to compose a work utilizing the human voice, electronic soundscape and acoustic flute.
Beyond dance communities and existing supporters, LAND BRIDGE will engage audiences in the fields of music, design and the humanities, and serve as a tool for cultural diplomacy promoting respect and mutuality. Beyond performance, engagement will occur through strategies focused upon migrating audiences through multiple outreach activities and media platforms. Open rehearsals, studio showings, lecture demonstrations and masterclasses will occur and the creation process shared over the Internet with rehearsal footage, interviews, photos and updates via social media. Across all platforms, links to related readings and inspiration provide greater context for the work.
LAND BRIDGE launched in mid-August 2015 with two-weeks of rehearsal in NYC, followed by a one-week residency at LaFayette College in Easton, PA. Rehearsals will continue October-December 2015 in NYC with Joachim joining the company in the studio for a selected time. Rehearsals resume in February 2016 with a residency in North Carolina with Joachim again joining Simoneau in the studio. Recording of the completed score is slated for mid-February 2016. An in-progress version of LAND BRIDGE will be shown during the March 2016 home season in Winston-Salem, NC and in Charlotte, NC for an engagement presented by Charlotte Ballet. Black Mountain College Festival in Laurinburg, NC will present four performances of LAND BRIDGE in October 2016 and Lafayette College will present the work in November 2016.
Simoneau’s 2014 creation, AMONG THE NEWLY FAMILIAR, marked a turning point in Simoneau’s choreographic process. The work represents a creative thinking, less focused on literal and practical reasoning, but arising from intuitive and present moment decision making. With a focus on the development of material without judgment, Simoneau found a new sense freedom in the making of her choreographic work. She plans to employ similar strategies in the making of LAND BRIDGE with a cast of nationally and internationally recognized performers.
Life Lines is written by Nathalie Joachim and produced and performed by Flutronix. Nathalie Joachim and Allison Loggins-Hull are Flutronix, a critically acclaimed pair of fresh and eclectic flutists performing original music that displays “a unique blend of classical music, hip-hop, electronic programming and soulful vocals reminiscent of neo-R&B stars like Erykah Badu.” – Tad Hendrickson, The Wall Street Journal
During the early stages of creating MOONLIGHT PARADE (FOR TWO) in Montreal, Simoneau met dramaturge Steven Cook who provided pivotal feedback. LAND BRIDGE will mark Simoneau’s first work to employ dramaturgical support with Cook serving as dramaturge. Gordon Olson who designed lighting for MOONLIGHT PARADE (FOR TWO) will create a dynamic lighting schematic for LAND BRIDGE and virtuosic performers Ariel Freedman and Kayla Farrish will be members of the cast.
Start and End Dates
02/01/2016 — 09/22/2016
Winston-Salem, North Carolina