Dance in Canada today is politically, critically and artistically vibrant. Through a choreographic lens, artists, curators, and scholars propose unique perspectives and exchanges which continue to expand the landscape of dance.
Thunderstruck: Physical Landscapes presents the landscapes and layers of multiple dance communities, art practices and dancers from across Canada. It is a look at bodies, movements and dances within landscapes, as well as the body and dance as landscape. It also investigates the landscape in which dance is created, presented and received.
The exhibition title is twofold. In the literal sense, to be thunderstruck is to be struck by a major short-lived sonic explosion. Thunder is sound accompanied by lightning—like dance it is seemingly ephemeral and can have an immense impact. In the colloquial sense, to be thunderstruck is to be astonished, surprised and speechless. This exhibition presents the spirit of both meanings with a deep respect and passion for dance and its practitioners.
Thunderstruck examines and questions the power that an exhibition bestows on its objects through collection, display and archival activities. It also considers the traces left behind in any physical or performance practice—including material, sensorial, emotional, political and spiritual. In the process, this exhibition poses the question: is dance truly ephemeral, or does it stay with us long after a performance has ended?
As visitors explore this exhibition, they will discover works of art, including film-based works and installations, as well as dance related materials. Together, the materials on display emphasize that physical and lived intelligence, corporeal storytelling, body to body transmissions between dance practitioners and between practitioners and audiences are not as fleeting as they are often perceived: they occupy prominent space in galleries, institutions and archives and they inform many physical practices from dance performances to our everyday movements
The exhibition includes a breadth of works from dance artists from across the country, including Deepti Gupta's rehearsal notes for her dance piece SNOWANGELS; anonymous artist La calq's Names of Dancers, a monument to dancers' labour; Laura Taler’s video and photo collages; and Angela Miracle Gladue’s beaded boom box, which combines her practices in both hip hop and traditional First Nations dance. In addition, the exhibition presents works from the Canada Council Art Bank, including Shary Boyle's The Widow and Aganetha Dyck's Close Knit.
This exhibition, of course, presents only a snapshot of contemporary dance in Canada. There are countless dance communities, forms, practices and dance artists across the country doing important research, exploration and experimentation at this very moment. All the same, Thunderstruck: Physical Landscapes hints at the breadth of dance practice in Canada and gives it a tangible presence for visitors.