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Concordia alumni bring a dance show to Montreal

David Albert-Toth and Emily Gualtieri are dancing their way across the city with their show La Chute

Dance, like any art, is constantly evolving, and that’s a driving force for Concordia alumni David Albert-Toth and Emily Gualtieri. Their award-winning show La Chute is currently touring Montreal and being performed at various Maison de la Culture venues until Oct 28.

La Chute’s creation began back in 2009, and Gualtieri said its purpose “has complexified over time.” The show draws inspiration from various sources, like Eugene Ionesco’s play Rhinoceros, as well as a person’s journey through life. “We knew early on that the [character] was not English, and from another time,” said Gualtieri.

“We really wanted to play with ideas of life and identity. Your sense of identity—sometimes in life you’re so sure about it, and then suddenly you’re not. And we wanted to play with it all in one piece, in a non-obvious way,” she said. The character navigates through various stages and emotions, changing abruptly from innocence to anger to fear and vulnerability, all the while on the verge of insanity trying to define his identity.

This character which the audience watches struggle through different emotions and stages has been seven years in the making. Albert-Toth and Gualtieri have been working on La Chute in installments since 2009, and what audiences see today is very different from the original version. “This is version two that you are seeing,” said Albert-Toth.

The original piece was expanded on after being a part of a mentorship program with Canadian choreographer Melanie Demers, who helped morph it into this new show. “We are always thinking about how can we update [the show], and it’s always evolving,” said Gualtieri. “But sometimes you have to go back to that original idea and remember what the idea is,” she added.

While going back and expanding upon the themes of older  shows is something that Albert-Toth and Gualtieri are always doing, they also are always creating new things. They said they are most excited about their new shows that are coming out very soon. “There’s always a desire to reuse old ideas that you’re not quite done with yet, kind of like re-listening to old albums,” said Gualtieri. “I agree,” added Albert-Toth. “It’s like I want to re-watch Seinfeld but I also really want to finish Stranger Things because I’ve only got one episode left.”

Parts and Labour_danse’ show La Chute is currently on tour around Montreal. Photo by David Vilder
Parts and Labour_danse’ show La Chute is currently on tour around Montreal. Photo by David Vilder

The pair recently performed at Concordia’s Studio 7 event, and they said being back at Concordia felt a little bit weird. “Being in an institution again was a little bit jarring,” said Gualtieri. However, they believe it is important for both students and alumni to show each other their work. “We’re all creating and all learning, and it’s important to remember what it’s like to be there,” Gualtieri said. “I want to be more involved with having a discussion [with current students].”

Albert-Toth and Gualtieri officially formed their company Parts+Labour_Danse back in 2011, and since then, their choreography has gained recognition within the Canadian dance community. La Chute won the Audience Choice Award at Toronto’s dance: made in canada festival in 2015, and the duo also won awards for another one of their shows, In Mixed Company.

Visit their website for the various dates and locations of their upcoming performances. All performances presented with the Maisons de la Culture are free.

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