From Halifax’s House of Eights Dance Studio comes Panopticonica, an innovative blend of choreography that “lays bare the cost of self-surveillance and the courage required to break free from its shackles to form genuine, meaningful community.”
It’s a great first dance show for someone who might not typically attend this kind of performance.
We learn more in this Q&A with co-director and producer Gabrielle Greener.
This interview has been edited.
Tell us about Panopticonica. What can audiences expect?
Panopticonica will be an emotionally intense but ultimately cathartic viewing experience in an intimate setting. It will feature several dance styles, including waacking, hip hop, heels, house and contemporary. It’s a great first dance show for someone who might not typically attend this kind of performance.
What was the inspiration for Panopticonica?
Foucault’s Panopticon inspired the framing for the show. We expanded the idea of self-surveillance to explore how we can end up internalizing social judgments and experiencing profound shame as a result. This can be both very isolating and a common experience, so we wanted to delve into how this affects us as individuals and how we can overcome it to build connection and community.
Why this particular show now?
Panopticonica is a collaborative work created by a group of dancers and choreographers who are all faculty at House of Eights Dance Studio in Halifax. We wanted to take on a project that was meaningful to us all on a personal level and allowed us the creative freedom to explore how the different styles of dance that we all specialize in can be brought together to create something new.
What do you hope audiences leave Panopticonica talking about?
We hope that audiences can reflect on how the themes of Panopticonica echo their own experiences and maybe feel less alone. We also hope to build awareness of the value of street dance as an art form and vehicle for meaningful storytelling.
Why should someone come to see Panopticonica?
This show differs from the dance shows typically seen in Halifax, as those shows are primarily contemporary dance, while Panopticonica features a diverse range of styles. The show is a powerful and evocative look at the human condition and a celebration of the courage it takes to overcome fear and fully embrace yourself.
The Halifax Fringe Festival returns from August 31 through September 10, with more than 60 productions taking place at venues across the city.