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Rubberbandance – An Interview with Victor Quijada

by Rachel Levin
May 7, 2008
Los Angeles, CA
Friday 5/9 at 8 pm: Irvine Barclay Theatre, 4242 Campus Dr., Irvine, 949-854-4646.

Saturday 5/10 at 8 pm: Luckman Fine Arts Complex, 5151 State University Dr., Los Angeles, 323-343-6600.
Victor "Rubberband" Quijada, co-artistic director of Montreal-based Rubberbandance, began his career in the dance world as a b-boy coming up in Los Angeles. He then built a contemporary dance vocabulary working with Twyla Tharp and added ballet to his repertoire as part of Les Grands Ballets Canadiens de Montreal. Now on tour and headed to his hometown of Los Angeles, Quijada is bringing the program "Elastic Perspective Redux" to the Irvine Barclay and Luckman Fine Arts. It will showcase the company's earliest works, a glimpse at the very beginning explorations of what would become his signature mash-up of breakdancing and ballet.

Rachel Levin: What questions were you exploring when you first started Rubberbandance?

Victor Quijada: I was going back to what more could hip hop be, what more could contemporary dance become if I allowed these things to influence each other, and not just to appropriate a mold from b-boying and try to make old modern dance more exciting, but really letting the two influence each other. [Hip hop's] real home was in the clubs, in the ciphers and circles that I knew growing up. But how could that be transported into this other format, this proscenium format, and how not to lose a spontaneity and the energy of that?

RL: What does it mean that Rubberbandance "scrambles the aesthetic" of hip hop?

VQ: When people hear hip hop, they expect certain things. It's not hip hop mixed with ballet. It's not that. It's not ballet mixed with hip hop. It's not that. It's a very personal, unique vocabulary and language and approach to movement and theater that comes from these very profound experiences in each of these worlds. So it's not like I decided to take this and this and fuse them together. It's along my path I was part of many different worlds and those worlds affected each other and informed each other and the digestion period happened and this is what it became.

RL: How did growing up in Los Angeles influence you?

VQ: Being at Los Angeles County High School for the Arts opened my whole mindframe up to art. Artists, painters, musicians, choreographers…Just being exposed to that had a huge impact on my life. I think that's when I started thinking about hip hop as an art form and what the potential could be…[I began] thinking about minimalism and abstraction and surrealism, and I started doing some of those things in my hip hop dancing in the clubs that I was going to.

RL: How did you get the nickname "Rubberband"?

VQ: I was dancing for some rappers back in the day. The first time they saw me it was like, "Oh, he looks like a rubberband." It was really a very brainless moment but what that comes to signify for me or what the company stands for is pretty special…It links back to this time where these two things came together: the high art world and this real world of expression that I came to know through hip hop.

RL: What does the name signify for the company?

VQ: It also talks about the movement aesthetic. I wouldn't try to describe the movement style in words but there is this sense of non-releasing, stretching that happens that is pretty unique. The point of my work [is] to try to stretch the boundaries, push the limits of how our mind always wants to categorize everything.
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