Æmulus: A human/robot
Giverny Welsch gives a captivating and energetic performance
By Jacqueline van de Geer
October 3, 2023
In Æmulus, Jean-François Boisvenue and Giverny Welsch combine dance, video, electronic music and robotics to create a choreographic work rich in contrasts. In this multidisciplinary work for a performer and six robotic arms, machine and human seek to imitate, match and surpass each other.
Boisvenue has participated in numerous productions as a performer, video designer, set designer, director and author. Welsch combines work in contemporary dance, the teaching of human movement, and underwater videography.
Together, they created an exciting adventure at Théâtre La Chapelle, where we witness a dancer’s communication with six robotic arms that occasionally seem to have human reactions. Without text, we follow Giverny’s relationship with these robots, trying to communicate with them, or so it seems. Sometimes, it looks like she succeeds. But in the performance of roughly an hour, we can see her struggling, and we witness the increasing loneliness of this beautiful dancer on the stage of La Chapelle.
Within the stunning video projections of Jean-François Boisvenue, the lighting design of Marguerite Hudon and the strong sound design of Arthur Champagne, Giverny Welsch exhausts herself on her journey through technology until she discovers a record player. The beautiful softness of a classical orchestra fills the room, and we find ourselves connected to humanity as Welsch continues her dance together with the robotic arms on the wonderful music of Debussy’s Prélude à l’après-midi d’un faune.
In Æmulus, Jean-François Boisvenue and Giverny Welsch combine dance, video, electronic music and robotics to create a choreographic work rich in contrasts.
The techno beat enters and intertwines with the record, Giverny returns to the original movement pace, and then all goes out with a bang!
A stunning performance that led me to be mesmerized by our fast-paced world and the relationship we develop with the digital universe.
Æmulus at Théâtre La Chapelle until October 5.
Images: Jean-François Boisvenue
Originally from the Netherlands, Jacqueline van de Geer crossed the Atlantic Ocean in 2005 to live and work in Montréal. She has a bachelor’s degree in visual arts and performance arts.