Frontera: Review

Frontera: Review

Dana Gingras choreographs a contemporary dance piece called Frontera about borders, surveillance, liminality of the body within these systems. It is performed February 19th and 20th at the NAC by her multi-media company Animals of Distinction. Highlights are audio excerpts by: Klavdij Sluban (slovenian photographer), Gabriel Acuna (activist), Alexis Ipatovtsev (radio-journalist), Werber Hampl (tunnel-builder for between East and West Berlin, Germany), Kate Nolan (photographer), Francois le Blond (writer and activist), Alex Piero (psychoanalytic doctor), Cande Andrade (video editor and media designer). 

The music (live, performing from behind a disappearing screen, by Fly Pan Am) was loud, pervasive, urgent, both industrial and soulful, foreboding, immediate. 

The insert reads: “Borders are boundaries, but they’re also processes, liminal spaces where despair, desire and neoliberal economic imperative meet the obscure(d) operations of power. Surveillance technologies represent an advancing frontier of knowledge and control, monitoring movement, defining identities and gathering data. Increasingly, the Norse moves with the body, and seeks to organize and orchestrate its passage through the world.” 

The liminality of the body and chaos were jailed by light, interpreted as mass surveillance; the border. Where does the individual gain freedom in controlled, mass surveillance-driven lands? In chaos. And where does the body go, does the body stretch, to seek freedom? Also chaos, but the tender, desperate reliance on others, on human connection. 

Alas, the piece ends with the light – the limit – drawing a couple that had fallen into an embrace after a particularly harrowing experience with the border, the surveilling light – pushing them away into darkness, each alone. A fitting piece to a comment on the technology that was supposed to bring us together – driving us apart.

Is that the ultimate end to this nightmare state we have created? Alone, in darkness, after writhing chaotically against the cold, hard, all-seeing light? Maybe. 

The dancers’ bodies were tireless, throbbing, definitive, thought-provoking, the choreography thoughtful and important. 

You’ll never look at your phone – or a border (and what about the border within?) the same way again.

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