Quantum is dance inspired by particle physics

Swiss choreographer Gilles Jobin’s Quantum represents a blending of art and science. Jobin participated in Collide@CERN, an artist residency initiative of The European Organization for Nuclear Research, where he was inspired by particle accelerators and physics.

Quantum is what came out of that residency, and it demonstrates an awareness of patterns, clusters, and the idea that we are all made of these particles that are constantly moving. The piece begins with six dancers shaking frenetically on the spot, as the lights above them sway back and forth.

The lights are a work of art in themselves, and are a lumino-kinetic installation by Julius von Bismark. This made the lighting extremely dynamic, as the three large bulbs swung in different patterns and at varying speeds throughout the performance.

The dancers’ movements seemed to be influencing the movements of the lights, and they added an extra element to the work as they too had to be choreographed. The way the circles of light moved as the lights swayed was an effective way of changing the mood and pacing of the work and, at times, added an extra pulsing, rhythmic element.

In tight jumpsuits with a detailed geometric pattern, the dancers moved around the stage in various clusters, with one dancer beginning a movement and the others following suit until the chain reaction of movements changed their formation. These sections were reminiscent of atoms moving in clusters and affecting each other in a chain reaction.

The soundscape of this work was not melodic at all, and contained a few sections of very piercing sounds that had a few audience members grimacing as they covered their ears. This only added to the scientific, clinical feeling of the work as the dancers moved around a bare, starkly lit stage.

With impressive contact work and inventive choreography, this is a fascinating work that blends the two fields of art and science into a unique creation.

For more information, visit thedancecentre.ca.

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