CORPUS, a Toronto-based dance company, is celebrating its 20th anniversary with its newest show, House Guests, in which David Danzon, the company’s artistic director, invites you into his home for a site-specific dance and performative installation.
The show’s setting in Danzon’s house limits the audience to 20 people, making it a small but intimate production. The cast is comprised of five performers: Michael Caldwell, Rob Feetham, Indrit Kasapi, Jolyane Langlois, and Takako Segawa. They move throughout the house, allowing guests to roam freely and view the multiple performances occurring at the same time.
House Guests contests the boundaries of performance by relocating from a traditional theatre setting to a home. “I thought it would be an interesting challenge to bring the site-specificity of my approach to things indoors, with walls surrounding the space,” said Danzon.
Danzon bought his house 17 years ago, but because of all the travelling that he does, he chooses to sublet it. “Over the years, many people have lived in this house, and I don’t know whether to call it my house anymore because I like to think that they’ve left their fingerprints on the walls and in the air.”
The show’s performers drew inspiration from the house’s past inhabitants, spending two weeks of the creation period exploring its spaces. From there, characters began to develop, as did certain themes.
The performers are co-creators of the show, incorporating the feelings they derived from the house into inspiration for one another. “The idea was not to transform the existing spaces, but to use what was there… There was no script to begin with,” said Danzon.
Each performer found inspiration from the house’s different rooms and translated that into mediums such as dance, song, gesture, and even Japanese folk tale.
The performers use improvisation to incorporate the audience members as they move freely through the residence, causing performances to feel more intimate, as the audience feels included. Through these interactive performances, the viewer becomes a house guest.
“Ultimately I’m more interested with experiences than the dance form or the theatre form,” said Danzon. “In terms of the relationship with the audience, I always take the audience’s perspective into consideration when I create a show, and it’s the relationship to the audience that I want to investigate and I like to try to find things to twist expectations around.”
House Guests runs from November 21 to December 17.