Victor Quijada and his RUBBERBANDance Group are spending a few days on the Purchase College campus ahead of their performance on Saturday, March 31. We caught up with Victor to ask him a few questions.
Q: Why the name “RUBBERBANDance Group”?
A: Two answers for this:
1) When I was a teenager, I used to perform with a rap group and they gave me the name “rubberband” for my dance style that was loose and off-kilter. During that same period, I was being mentored by Rudy Perez, a member of the Judson Church Theatre Group who helped establish postmodern dance in the late 60’s and 70’s. Working with Perez while still being heavily immersed in the Los Angeles Hip Hop scene is what planted the seeds that would later become my life’s work. For me, “rubberband” signifies a moment in my personal history where my underground hip hop world collided with the world of postmodern ideals and high art concepts. It’s my personal “big bang” explosion that I still channel for inspiration to this day.
2) In 1999, when I started making my own work, I felt that dance genres were very segregated, everything felt very compartmentalized. Each style very much in its own box. Ballet was in that drawer. Modern over there. Hip hop styles weren’t even really on the radar in the contemporary dance world back then. What I was hoping to do was stretch the boundaries and definitions of what was what. I wanted to bring all the styles I had been exposed to together in a bundle and let them co-exist as one new thing. When I established the company in 2002, the name “rubberband” seemed to fit the vision of what I wanted to represent through my work.
Q: What is it you hope to capture within your dance pieces? What do you hope to communicate to an audience?
A: It varies from piece to piece. And it evolves as I continue making work. “Vic’s Mix” is great because it is a cross-section of different periods. From the works where I aimed to re-imagine the use of classical music; to works in which movement conveys the various colors & tones of relationships; to pieces that play on the rules of the theatrical event.
Q: What artists, companies, or genres inspire you most?
A: I am inspired by artists who have left their mark by opening new possibilities for their discipline, either by thinking outside the box or by dissolving existing boundaries between genres. In the last 30 years artists like Jiri Kylian, Pina Bausch, William Forsythe, Ohad Naharin have done that within the dance discipline.
As a young dancer I was lucky enough to be mentored by Rudy Perez, a member of the Judson Theatre Group who helped establish postmodern dance in the late 60’s & 70’s. Working with Perez, while still being immersed in the Los Angeles Hip Hop scene, is what planted the seeds that would later become my life’s work.
Q: How long does it typically take for a piece to journey from conception to performance? What is that remixing process like?
A: This varies; with my company I am able to research & develop work in short work periods, over several months.
Q: How does RUBBERBANDance Group challenge or break convention or tradition within the dance world?
A: Through RUBBERBANDance Group, I try to make the most of the rich cultural backgrounds of the dancers, artistic collaborators, and conceptors who issue from widely diverse milieus. Created in a spirit of equity, RUBBERBANDance Group is currently made up of young dancers of Latin-American, Asian, Afro-American, and First-Nations origins who hail from different regions of Canada, the United States, and Mexico. Some of the company’s members, who speak French, English, and Spanish, were classically trained, while others debuted in dance as self-taught b-boys or b-girls. Respect for difference and a care for representing diversity are fundamental values of RUBBERBANDance Group, whose members embody and transmit these values on a daily basis.
This week’s events:
An Evening with Victor Quijada
Tuesday, March 27, 6:30pm
Q&A with choreographer Victor Quijada and members of RUBBERBANDance Group. In the Dance Theatre Lab, free and open to the public.
Saturday, March 31, 8pm
Click for performance tickets and more information