Glory – 2014
by Shay Kuebler Radical System Art
World Premiere – February 2015
2015 International Chutzpah! Festival
“… athletic mix of martial-arts and street-tinged contemporary dance…” Georgia Straight
Inspired by the epic battles of childhood and a passion for action films, Glory examines the complexities of violent behaviour and its glorification in our media-drenched culture. Through a cinematic lens, with first-person video material, Glory takes the audience through multiple images and expressions on the amplification of experience and violence in society.
A company of 6 bold and dynamic performers create a physical essay around numerous themes of glorification. Creating rich and dark imagery through visceral and impactful choreography, Glory pushes the audience to question the purpose and reasoning of violent material in society.
KAROSHI – 2012
“…vocabulary that melds the flow of contemporary dance, the physicality of hip-hop, and the tension and release of martial arts…” – Georgia Straight
Death from illness, stroke, heart attack brought on by extreme working conditions is given the term “Karoshi” or “Death from overwork”. It also refers to suicides caused by over-worked induced depression. It is a yearly statistic and is completely unique to the country of Japan.
The basis for KAROSHI arrives from the conflicts of modern and historical culture, and societal and personal need, leading to detracting, disruptive and destructive ends. The best example of a society’s extreme push to grow, demonstrating the damage that can arise from the turmoil between historical tradition and modern infrastructure, is Japan throughout the ‘Bubble Economy’ period. KAROSHI places six men in the emotional and physical situations of a society where format and protocol overweigh personal fulfillment and exploration – a repressed way of life where personal choice is superseded by the collective conscience and the group path. The piece aims to physically and visually express some extreme cases of conflict caused by the juxtaposition of cultural and societal form – personal want and societal need. A number of the physical structures, in partnership with the visual imagery, create the sense of density and concentration surrounding the performers. It is not a literal commentary on Japan, but it is greatly affected and inspired by the country and its culture. Referencing the bubble economy society and creating a performance language with martial arts, taiko drumming, theatre and urban/contemporary dance, KAROSHI has a Japanese-inspired voice to phrase a physical essay on human and societal need competing for their place.
“His style is indeed mesmerizing and explosive.” – Vancouver Weekly
For this piece, a great amount of time has been refocused on how the technical and production elements can reinforce the internal process of the performers through the interactivity of these elements. It is not a work that is focused on technology, but it is rather a work that is aiming to utilize new abilities and techniques of live performance/theatre operation to further instill the intentions of the work – furthering the capacity for the piece to affect the audience. Through the use of Isadora software, all the production elements have the ability to be completely interactive with the live performance allowing for the arc of the performers to be more dynamic and affecting for the audience.
Contrapasso – 2008
Contrapasso was a work choreographed on part of the Les Grands Ballet Canadiens company as a winner of the 1st National Choreographic Competition. Referencing themes and ideas from the divine comedy by Dante Alighieri.
“Duets about love and death, betrayed love, illicit love, the conflictual relations between group and individual: the ideas and images that characterize his artistic process are freely inspired by the contrapassos of Dante’s Inferno. Contrapasso, a work for four dancers, performed on alternative and electronic music. The piece juxtaposes ballet, hip-hop and martial arts—a challenge for his dancers, particularly the classically trained—to create his astonishingly structured works. ” – Les Grands Ballet Canadiens
Status Quo – 2008 & 2010
Vancouver, BC and Ottawa, ONT
Performed for the 20th Anniversary Dancing On The Edge Festival and The Canada Dance Festival.
Status Quo is the result of Shay Kuebler and Amber Funk Barton joining forces to create movement that is dynamically bold and emotionally captivating due to its velocity, speed, musicality and articulation.
A quartet for three men and a woman, Status Quo reflects the desire for instant entertainment resulting in numbed experiences. Inspired by channel surfing and television saturation, Status Quo is a journey that combines contemporary technique with an urban aesthetic as it abruptly shifts from scene to scene, or channel to channel, leaving both the performers and audience breathless.
CABINET – 2010 & 2012
Ottawa, ONT and Calgary, AB
Cabinet is a work that looks at how one formats and places a structure over itself in attempts to blend, conform and relate. It also references the tendency for people to categorize or denote what they experience to more readily access, secure or protect their own thoughts and ideas. In this work specifically, we look at how man is pulled off his direct path from an outside force, and how outside influence can begin to alter one’s own direction and perspective.