Movement is not the first thing that comes to mind to most of us when considering the Japanese graphic novel form known as manga. Wide-eyed, open-mouthed children going "ooooooRating 5 ," certainly. But the kind of powerful physical motion found in dance? Not so much. Les Productions Figlio's (lesproductionsfiglio.ca) Serge Bennathan sees things differently.
He titled his latest work Manga in homage to the continuous movement of the complex plotlines of the form, while expressing the concrete stillness of the comic book.
"I wanted to explore the continuity and forwardness of the manga form in the sense of a dance piece," says Bennathan. "In manga, the characters are always moving forward in the story, instead of the more common treatment of a series of flashbacks.
"Even when they are still, there is movement in the text and it is a great challenge and release for me as a choreographer to try to invent a way to deliver that in dance."
It's a challenge that dancers Susie Burpee and Linnea Swan will be taking up as the duo in the show. Their moves need to be everything from nearly invisible to highly explosive to propel the audience along on what Bennathan envisions as "both a reflection upon dance, the art form, and manga, the global storytelling phenomenon."