Dance punks T.R.A.S.H.

Dance Dance presents T.R.A.S.H., a Dutch dance company that draws on their punk roots and dark thoughts.

Dancers Lucie Petrušová and Guilherme Miotto in T†Bernadette. Photo by Ernest Potters.

Artistic director and choreographer Kristel van Issum says she likes to go to dark places. “I’m attracted to demented and tormented shapes, and destruction,” she reveals on the phone from her collective’s home base in Tilburg, Netherlands.

T.R.A.S.H. is a Dutch company that evolved out of the local punk scene, offering a brand of extreme physical dance-theatre that involves the recurring themes of digging into one’s psyche and dealing with chaos, both internal and external.

“It has to do with showing the struggle of humans — at least how I experience it. We don’t have one identity. We are splintered. It’s about the ugliness, and trying to show the cruelty,” says van Issum.

This week, the company makes its Montreal début with a double bill spotlighting male-female duets,  set to live musical performances.

Oona Doherty in Enchanged Room. Photo by Paul VanWeert.
The first duo, Enchanted Room, created with choreographer Guilherme Miotto, follows a brother and sister’s quest for a better land. Their journey unfolds in a fairytale-like setting, which abruptly plummets into a nightmarish atmosphere, accompanied by performances by soprano Michal Bitan and baritone João Paixoa.

The closing piece, T†Bernadette, as van Issum describes it, is more of an abstract, primitive work that chronicles the pathway of two individuals to their formation of a couple. With a sparse decor and set to the melodies of cellist Jacqueline Hamelink, the duo unearths the darkness that lies beneath desire, touching upon domestic violence.

“With both of the performances, it’s about the eruption and outburst and trying to make it controllable,” describes van Issum. “In these times of insecurity, nothing is certain. Everything can disappear without reason.  What we can’t control, I find interesting. I see the individual struggle with fate.” ■


Enchanted Room and T†Bernadette, March 5-9, Cinquième Salle, Place des Arts, 8 p.m., $36.35. On Friday March 8, the artists host a post-show discussion.

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