We sat down with choreographer/artistic director of COMPULSION DANCE & THEATRE to get the inside scoop on his next dance production at Diversionary Theatre, [manhandled].
Q: [manhandled] is a brand new duet featuring Nicholas Strasburg and Andrew Holmes. Can you tell us a little bit about the piece?
A: Unlike last year’s duet, Uncoupling, where the characters reveled in their extreme dysfunction, [manhandled] looks at another not-so-compatible couple, but this time, the duo’s relationship is falling apart. One is restless and wants to leave; the other can’t fathom life without the other. Thus begins the physical and emotional manhandling.
Q: With Uncoupling and now [manhandled], many of your dances deal with relationships combined with a strong narrative. What first attracted you to this type of dancemaking?
A: I entered college as a theatre major. As part of the major, I had to take a dance class. Well, that was it. I changed my major to dance. People thought I was insane. I had never danced before but, somehow, I knew it was the right decision.
The storytelling and character aspects of my work are in direct relation to my theatrical background.
Q: Man Clan was very well received last year and will be restaged in [manhandled]. What made you decide to do this piece again?
A: This was a piece that had been simmering on the backburner for a while. I’m so glad I finally had the chance to bring in to the stage.
Sometimes we get stuck in outmoded notions of what makes a man – that aggression equals strength and that intimacy and gentleness equals weakness. I really wanted to skewer these ideas, turn them on their ear but also acknowledge that they don’t always go away. It is something we are taught as young men and not always easily altered.
With the appearance of Donald Trump as a major political candidate, I think this piece as added resonance.
Q: Man Clan, Uncoupling, Via Dolorosa and [manhandled] are part of a bigger work called The Man Dance Series. Thematically, are all four works related?
A: Thematically, the pieces examine different issues but are linked by gesture, shared movement and repeated motif. The final dance will premiere in August of 2017 and will complete The Man Dance Series.
[manhandled] will be presented at Diversionary Theatre from August 11-14, 2016. For tickets, visit https://web.ovationtix.com/trs/cal/33385 or call 619-220-0097 [manhandled] contains adult content including mature themes and partial male nudity.