The 605 Collective perform their latest work, Inheritor Album, at the Vancouver Playhouse Friday, July 6 and Saturday, July 7 at 8: 30 p.m. as part of the Dancing on the Edge Festival of Contemporary Dance July 5-14. For complete schedule www.dancingontheedge.org.
IT'S an ordinary stage floor, made of wood and painted black. But watching 605 Collective dancers slide across it, bodyslam into it and pop back up, you might be forgiven for wondering if they're dancing on a bouncy trampoline.
"The movement is super physical and highly athletic," says collective member Lisa Gelley, who grew up in North Vancouver and now lives and works in Vancouver. "You'll see a lot of energy, a lot of use of the floor. We really wear ourselves out in the piece - it's super tiring and pretty exhausting to do."
The company is premiering their second full-length work tonight and Saturday at the Dancing on the Edge Festival in Vancouver. The 65-minute piece is called Inheritor Album and deals with themes of legacy and inheritance. The performance is split up into shorter "tracks" (like a record album) ranging from two to 12 minutes long.
The piece follows 605 Collective's first project, Audible, which toured widely and will be made into a short film. The collective has been praised for its energetic, hip-hop inspired performances, which merge together many styles of dance.
"All of us are trained in ballet, jazz, hip-hop, tap, musical theatre," explains Gelley. "We started making this hybrid movement almost by accident."
The company's six dancers, all in their mid to late 20s, are in the stage of their careers where they can reflect back on years of dance training and the support given to them by their families and the dance community, says Gelley.
"It's an interesting time in our lives . . . . we feel we're at a place where we have something to say. This is a time when we're building our legacy."
In this new piece, 605 Collective is using projected animations by Los Angeles-based artist Miwa Matreyek to develop themes and ideas throughout the performance. The videos create an extra level of difficulty, as the dancers have to time their movements to match the projections.
"In one of the sections we have heat signatures or stamps that our bodies create on the floor after we've left our mark there," says Gelley. "They're made to look as though they're live and happening in the moment."
Gelley and fellow collaborators Josh Martin and Shay Kuebler formed the company in 2006 in the live/work studio Gelley and Martin shared. The group took their name from their apartment - number 605.
Now having outgrown the apartment, the three founders continue to be the main creators and choreographers. But the collective uses a collaborative process that welcomes suggestions from the other dancers.
"It's kind of this really fluid environment we've built over the years, so that we can work in a way that we're open to other people's ideas, but we still have control or authority over what's happening," says Gelley.
Gelley's advice to people who aren't sure if a dance show is for them is to "think of it not just as a dance show but as a performance experience. We have some really amazing music in the show, and pretty much everyone loves to listen to music."
The company worked with sound designer Kristen Roos to create electronic and experimental tracks that range from beat-driven and upbeat to ambient and reflective. The show also incorporates tracks by Radiohead's Thom Yorke and avantgarde composer and guitarist Glen Branca.
The 605 Collective performs Inheritor Album at the Vancouver Playhouse on Friday and Saturday night. For tickets visit www.dancingontheedge.org.