Manuel Roque’s Intriguing 4-OR

Sophie Corriveau. Photo Manuel Roque Sophie Corriveau. Photo Manuel Roque

4-OR is a contemporary dance piece created by rising Montreal choreographer Manuel Roque for Tangente. Despite the piece’s unclear narrative, its progression towards an odd climax was intriguing and attention grabbing.

The dancer performed on a square platform for an audience that was seated on all four sides of the stage. This allowed spectators to feed off of each other’s reactions because everyone could see each other while viewing the piece. This seating arrangement made the audience more comfortable to laugh at bizarre moments where the intended effect was unclear.

Lucie Vigneault. Photo Manuel Roque.

Lucie Vigneault. Photo Manuel Roque.

4-OR begins with Lucie Vigneaulton alone on stage. She starts to repeat a series of minimalist movements in a specific order and is then joined progressively by Indiana Escach, Sophie Corriveau and Mark Eden-Towle who go through the same series of movements, resulting in a canon caused by their different starting times. The music that accompanies this section of the piece ranges from quotidian sounds of cars and birds, to European harpsichord and Latin rhythms making the repeated series of dance moves take on a different feel depending on the accompanying music. Suddenly the work changes after a long blackout and all the dancers begin to do very absurd things that grab the attention of the audience. One dancer rolls under the marley floor and suddenly cuts through it with a large knife, another plays with figurines of a dinosaur and a cow, while the last two dancers are half naked and contort their faces in scary ways. The piece ends with all the dancers coming together in unison for the first time. Suddenly snow starts to fall in the space

Notwithstanding the unclear narrative of the performance, the dancers managed to make the audience constantly search for meaning in their movements. According to Manuel Roque, his piece was not intended to have any real meaning and his goal is to create “a collective unconsciousness” where rational understanding of what was happening would slip in at unexpected moments.

4-OR has finished its run but Tangente has an excited packed program this year and “Ce qui emerge après (4kg)” by Sarah Bronsard and Nancy Gloutnez will be performed next week on the 10, 11, 12 and 13 of December. For tickets, click HERE.