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Updated: Nov 7, 2023

The entire creative and technical team is currently fully immersed in VANISHING MÉLODIES, with the first residency devoted to the work beginning a few days ago. Among other reasons, this residency is essential because it allows the performers to familiarize themselves with the show’s sets. These play a critical role: they represent the environment and framework within which the story told by the dancers’ movements unfolds.

We met with set designer Pierre-Étienne Locas to tell us more about his craft and the part he plays in staging the show.

Could you explain your role in VANISHING MÉLODIES and in the residency?

As the set designer, my role is to develop the performance space/environment based on the show’s theme and the director’s vision. The residency will allow us to take ownership of what we imagined and test it out in practice.

When it’s time to create the sets for a show, what is the process?

First, I talk with the director to identify the themes we want to explore, the approach we will take and the role set design will play. That’s followed by preliminary explorations—with drawings, models and mock-ups, I try to develop set architecture that will embody our artistic intentions. Finally, the set elements we have designed are made in the workshop.

What factors need to be considered when creating sets for a dance performance?

You need to provide space for the choreography and a suitable floor covering for the dancers, of course, but also think about the technical realities of a touring show. You have to consider the parameters while attempting to retain what’s important in terms of set design.

In your opinion, what qualities are essential for a good set designer?

Imagination, poetry and collaboration.

What three words would you use to describe the sets you have created for the work so far?

Reflection of reality

Did you know Patrick Watson’s music before working on VANISHING MÉLODIES? What inspiration does it give you?

I hadn’t heard much of it. For me, it’s music that comes from the depths. While we’re navigating on the surface, it calls out to us from below, somewhere far beneath us.

What are your hopes for the VANISHING MÉLODIES show and for your future as a set designer?

To take part in creating a show that will have an emotional impact—that’s what has always motivated me.

As you know, the company is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year. What do you hope the next 50 years will hold?

Creating new works with a sense of fun and performing them for audiences with the same sense of fun, over and over again.



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