Heather Mah, photo credit Angelo Barsetti
Pomegranate, by the Montreal choreographer and performer Heather Mah, will finally have its premiere at MAI from November 24 to 28, 2020, after two postponements due to the pandemic. Dance aficionados will definitely not want to miss this!
For Pomegranate, Heather Mah has taken her inspiration primarily from her family history and specifically the story of her grandmother, who was born in China at the end of the nineteenth century and brought to Canada at the age of 15. She married, becoming a second wife, and then returned to China after her husband’s death, just before the Second Sino-Japanese War broke out in 1937. This piece delicately sketches the imagined journey of this woman, who sought to escape her war-torn country but ultimately died there at the age of 60, despite all the efforts made to rescue her.
The show, Heather Mah’s first major solo, draws a fragmented portrait of migration. By probing deep into the memory of her forebear, she brings life to the dance and the trajectory of her performance, tapping into springs of energy and images. The underlying themes emerge: isolation, solitude, suffering, opening up to others, the search for new meaning – and the choreographer bears witness to these universal preoccupations that resonate with current great migrations and global upheavals. The artist’s purpose is not to recreate the story of a life, but to reveal its scope by linking it to the present through movement and poetic form.
Pomegranate is a performance and a tribute, a duty of memory, an intimate and introspective journey between the past and the present. The piece also marks the year the artist turns 60, the very age of her grandmother when she died. At this age, the body is no longer merely beautiful, but also experienced. The title refers to the fruit and to the fertility and femininity it symbolizes, particularly in China. It also calls up rejuvenation and resurrection after great loss. With its seeds tightly held inside its hard skin, it evokes the difficulty of entering easily into cohesion with the world.
Heather Mah choreography and performance | Tedd Robinson dramaturgy and creative research | Marc Boivin artistic counselling and rehearsal director | Alexander MacSween music | Mario Brien production management| Marc Parent lighting design | Lee Anholt lighting desk | Angelo Barsetti, costumes and photo for poster | Julio Mejia costume cutting and creation | Luc Senécalphotography | Bernar Hébert, Cima Claire Obscura video production| Rémi Hermoso camera and editing.
Pomegranate by Heather Mah
Nov. 24, 25, 26, 27 & 28, 2020 – 7:30PM
MAI (Montréal, arts interculturels)
$10 Single rate season 20.21
$0 — Accompanying person for spectators with a disability