by Madeleine Kane &
Finding a new harmonic relationship between dance and technology
Guillaume Côté by Ella Mazur
“It’s not always easy to make sure that dance triumphs
because it is the most fragile of the
Touch:Guillaume Côté x Lighthouse Immersive
Over the past year and a half, and amidst the waves of ongoing uncertainty, our collective relationship to physical touch has been complicated and, perhaps, forever changed. With his new dance experience, Touch, choreographer Guillaume Côté explores the delicate intimacy of human interaction in an environment that has developed hesitancy toward closeness. Embodied within two dancers, Côté’s choreography delves into the evolution of nature through the ebbs and flows of human influence. The narrative itself inspires inward reflection—especially in a period wherein we fear the mere thought of touch—how have we embraced technology in lieu of physical contact?
Influenced by the legendary stage director, Robert Lepage, Côté teamed up with Thomas Payette for the fusion of dance and technology. In the final stages of development, Côté revealed how directing Touch has changed his artistic relationship to open space, as well as finding harmony between the art of the dance and innovative spectacle.
It’s been a long process of devising this piece from scratch, what has changed the most, and what have you insisted on maintaining over the last year?
Our proposition needs to be dance. It needs to be movement. All of the projections, everything that rotates, everything that happens, needs to revolve around the idea of movement, dance, push, pull, and negative space—the idea of constant movement because that’s what life is. That’s what I liked with the first idea of Touch. The idea of touching can be very positive; it can be very negative as well. It can have contagion attached to it, depending on who’s touching and how. Touching has become more and more precious, too. We’re still in this situation where “touch” is sort of tricky. I wanted to keep it very much about dance. It’s not always easy to make sure that dance triumphs because it is the most fragile of the art forms. Opera and singing is really in your face and in your ears. Music can get very loud, but dance is very fragile. It’s ephemeral. It’s a play on geometry, space, and emotion. Many people are quick to dismiss anything that has multimedia and dance together. They want to dismiss it as “not a dance show,” and I push back on that. When they came out with drum machines and electronic music, I’m sure people said that wasn’t real music, but now there’s nothing else. From Kanye West to Drake, it’s considered amazing. I feel the same way about finding the balance of fragility and spectacle. I’m not willing to sacrifice the dance by any means, and I think we’re getting closer to something that will please dance lovers and those not usually into dance.
Read the full article in the print edition of Issue No.7!
Issue No.7 features in-depth interview with artists and arts organizations across 10 cities.