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Constraint as a Driver of Creativity

Or how to showcase your works through the technical and logistical realities of performance venues.

Chaînes - Edito - Contraite - CAPAS

For CAPAS, flourishing within constraints—financial, technical, logistical—is ingrained in its DNA. The creativity that arises from it drives the organization to offer production and broadcasting solutions that address current challenges. Thus, in order to equip, inspire, or invite its partners to compare methods in a spirit of healthy competition, we share some learnings on the adaptability of our most recent production: Minuit quelque part.

Placing Choreography at the Center of Production

While it may seem tautological to place choreography at the heart of a dance performance, it is important to return to basics to understand what is being conveyed. Dance certainly relies on an approach, an idea that one wishes to convey, but the artifice sometimes hides the moving truth that emanates from pure movement. To achieve this, choreography must be the trigger for emotion, right from the initial rehearsals. 

In the context of Minuit quelque part, CAPAS notably proposed to its choreographers to : 

  • Create to pre-produced music;

  • Respond to the directives of dramaturges emphasizing a theme related to the night;

  • Minimize props;

  • But above all: rely on their style, the performers at their disposal, and some creative constraints (unisons, ensembles) to express their vision

Other elements—costumes, lighting, set design—thus served to enhance a strong foundation, which can always be returned to without compromising the integrity of the work.

Anticipating different technical Scenarios

With such a creation method, it is possible to offer an engaging performance while adjusting the technical and scenic equipment deployed according to the realities of the presenters receiving it. Consequently, a flexible technical rider was created not as an immutable request, but as the beginning of a dialogue with programmers. Depending on the lighting equipment, sound reinforcement, and stage size, everything can be adjusted to highlight the dance while deploying—in its essence—the powerful magic of sound, costume, and lighting designers that occupies the space available.

Proposing a standalone lightweight version

Of course, a work cannot always be entirely stripped of its technical aspects and continue to convey its message clearly. Conversely, a company cannot expect every programmers who receives it to have all the necessary equipment for its full deployment—especially when using cutting-edge technology tools. The production has a responsibility in the travel of its work, and especially, in its adaptable version. Whether by purchasing or renting local equipment to carry with it during an international tour—as the Dutch company The Ruggeds did during its tour in Quebec in October 2023—or by transporting the most critical elements wherever it goes—as some lamps from Minuit quelque part —, the company thus meets halfway the needs of programmers and facilitates the reception of the work.

Presse - Edito - Contraite - CAPAS

Bringing all teams together towards a common goal

To achieve such a goal of versatility, it's essential for all members of a project to have a clear understanding of their contribution to the work, the production's expectations, and the tools available to them to achieve it. A detailed brief, created prior to the first production meeting, becomes an indispensable tool that connects the various departments—choreographers, performers, designers, technicians, and other essential roles—through parameters that allow for as much creative freedom as they direct towards a single shared objective.

In order to share our own experience and provide a foundation for some partners, below you will find a document inspired by the brief of Minuit quelque part. Feel free to use it abundantly!

Returning to the Essentials

Minuit quelque part made the deliberate artistic choice to reach as many audiences as possible to spark an interest in dance by presenting what the meeting of the best of popular culture and contemporary art can inspire. In an era where live art must more than ever fit into the structures that broadcast it to compete with international television productions, to participate in a more sustainable world, and to assert the ability of dance to move, it appears essential to help artists and programmers come together. Because returning to the essentials—to the ability of movement to tell our world differently—builds unshakeable bridges between individuals, between cultures, between minds.


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