J’ai pleuré avec les chiens (Time, Creation, Destruction 2021) is Daina Ashbee’s first group piece. Created before and during the pandemic, it went through the setbacks of that course and took shape again in 2021. The piece is marked by an incisive and sober precision, poetics of explosion and trance to which the choreographer has accustomed us.
Several naked bodies, vast. Female bodies, male bodies, crossed by various states and chants. Attempts at reconciliation, pilings on all fours, lines of flight.
From the rupture emerges the connection. From the sounds produced by the bodies emerge the movements which, in turn, generate rumblings, yelps, tears, calls.
Far from illustrating, representing, the performers embody, transmit like channels of flesh. Myriads of lived histories crystallize to shape the corporealities that are present. The process of creating J’ai pleuré ave les chiens (Time, Creation, Destruction 2021) began with the exploration of a sensation: seeking solace in the embrace of your dog, howling with this companion. This process evolved into a dive into canine body states. What has emerged from it today does not oscillate between animal and human, bodily and spiritual, feminine and masculine, nature and culture, suffering and care, anchoring and air. No, dichotomies and dualisms are of no concern to Ashbee. The notion of essence does not appeal to her either: She sees the world as a web of potentialities where everything can coexist, well beyond binary.
J’ai pleuré avec les chiens (Time, Creation, Destruction 2021) shapes a ritual of cohabitation and dissolution. A constellation of possibilities that escapes confinement in a category, a genre, a territory, circumscribed affiliations. Everything is transitory, fleeting. Experiencing the room by leaving its reading grid and its categories in the cloakroom opens the way to another sensorial experience: that of a space where people and things can continuously transform. This is not a temporary disturbance, but a reconfiguration of the sensible. In this, Ashbee’s work is anti-colonial. The colonial and capitalist relationship to the world is not only material – territories and bodies are to be conquered, classified, possessed and exploited – but also cognitive and sensitive: the colonial perspective considers the arts, knowledge and, in general, this which makes up the world as commodities to be acquired and categorized. J’ai pleuré ave les chiens (Time, Creation, Destruction 2021) is a rejection of the ways of knowing, creating and feeling marked by colonialism.
Presented as part of Vancouver International Dance Festival 2023.