Incorporated in Vancouver in 1993 and then relocating to Montreal in 1999, Trial & Eros is now in its twentieth season, operating as a not-for-profit company devoted to the research, creation and production of new dance theatre. Artistic Director Deborah Dunn comes from the visual arts and has worked as a photographer and costume designer. Though the work stays abreast of contemporary aesthetics and is known for its sophisticated visuals, it is also concerned with social commentary, historical inquiry and humour. Deborah Dunn has created a large body of solo and group works including: ‘Pandora’s Books’, ‘The Little Queen’, ‘The Birds’, ‘Elegant Heathens’, ‘Nocturnes’, 'Four Quartets' and 'Orlando'.
Since its debut Trial & Eros has fuelled many creations; Deborah Dunn spent the 90s distressing and impressing the West Coast public with her brazen yet beautiful dances, the most ambitious of which was ‘Pandora's Books’. Combining slides, voice-over and dance, this piece told the life story of silent film star and Denishawn dancer Louise Brooks, best remembered for her portrayal of Lulu in G.W. Pabst's classic silent film ‘Pandora's Box’.
In March 1997, Trial & Eros self-produced ‘Pandora's Books and Other Curiosities’, a retrospective of six of the best works from 1992 to 1997. ‘Sink’, the newest work on the program, was a movement piece set to a screeching prose poem by Veda Hille. The fluidity and lyricism of the movement, mixed with the subconscious imagery in the words, opened the floodgates to a new wave in the work. The next piece, ‘The Little Queen’ presented in Montreal in 1998, began as portrait of Elizabeth I and then became an exploration of the source of her power: her control of the sea. Though the company’s vision shifted into metaphoric territory, history continued to be an inspiration.
In the fall of 1999 Trial & Eros presented ‘Fuse, Sink and Pox’ at Tangente. Precise and stark, ‘Fuse’ departed from the oceanic world of ‘The Little Queen’, and arrived as a shimmering image of modernity. ‘Fuse’ has since been performed over fifty times across Canada and in New York. In January of 2001 the company presented its first full evening of dance in Montreal: ‘The Birds, Le jardin mécanique and Fuse’. A dynamic and fascinating work of dance theatre ‘The Birds’ was very well received by the public and the critics, and went on to tour for the next three years.
In December 2005, Trial & Eros premiered the hilarious and sumptuous quintet ‘Elegant Heathens’ in Calgary. Since then this celebrated work has been performed extensively in Montreal and Quebec and has toured to Vancouver, Victoria, St. John’s, Halifax, New York and Guelph.
The company’s latest evening length piece ‘Orlando’ premiered in March 2012 at l’Agora de la danse in Montreal. ‘Orlando’ will be touring in 2013-2014. Deborah Dunn is also very active as a soloist. Her evening of four solos based on T.S. Eliot’s modern classic ‘Four Quartets’ premiered in Vancouver and St. John's in the summer of 2009 and has been touring since; check out 'Upcoming Shows' for dates.
Trial & Eros gratefully acknowledges the financial support of The Canada Council for the Arts and Le conseil des arts et des lettres Québec.