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Wednesday, September 14, 2016

In Context: monumental

Canadian dance troupe the Holy Body Tattoo joins forces with post-rock legend Godspeed You! Black Emperor to offer monumental—a searing indictment of the daily grind coming to the BAM Howard Gilman Opera House Sep 16 & 17. Context is everything, so get even closer to the production with this curated selection of related articles and videos. After you've attended the show, let us know what you thought by posting in the comments below and on social media using #monumentalBAM.

Program Notes

monumental (Coming soon!)


A monumental undertaking (Luminato Festival)
Creators Dana Gingras and Noam Gagnon on the show’s evolution and their 10-year hiatus from dance.

sad desk lunch
A glimpse into the tragedy of the American workday.

Godspeed You! Black Emperor
The elusive band's online ephemera.

Jenny Holzer
The celebrated agitpop artist's myriad projects.

Watch & Listen

Godspeed You! Black Emperor Live at The Metropolis (YouTube)
Live in Montreal.

SEGMENT: Jenny Holzer in "Protest" (PBS)
Holzer discusses the concepts behind some of her most well-known projects.

Now your turn...

What did you think? Tell us what's on your mind in the comments below and on social media using #monumentalBAM.


  1. "Amid a din of ambient guitars" More noise than music- to loud, sound bouncing off my chest and I was in the mezzanine. "nine dancers confined to two-by-two-foot pedestals belie their workplace-appropriate skirts and slacks in this full-bodied indictment of the daily grind from Canadian dance troupe the Holy Body Tattoo." If this is an interpretation of the daily grind in Canada, then they should have stayed in Canada. It was more like watching a group at Creedmore who have LICE. I have been a member of BAM and always loved the Next Wave. Now this is the second time. That I have been totally disappointed. Last week the BAM book showed someone on a tight rope. Never Happened. This week - people jerking and twitching (thinking they are dancers) - NOT. More of a total waste of time. I wanted to leave after about 5 minutes, my companions wanted to stay. afterwards they said "we should have left" If this represents the direction of NEXT WAVED I will pass. This will be my last season. The "Holy Body Tattoo" Was more like the HOLEY Body missing a tattoo.

  2. This was really special. Between the amazing music from godspeed that you can just feel in your soul, the plot that us office worker bees can all relate to, and the athleticism of the dancers, it really was a special night.

  3. My son and I attended and thought it was an artistic piece truly for our time. The superb dancers and band were hypnotic. The choreography was expressive and often surprising. Yes, I would have preferred editing down the scratching, but metaphorically, it worked. The addition of the words and photographs/video deepened the ideas of alienation, conformity, tedium, violence, group comfort and contagion. Loved it!

  4. The whole performance seemed too contrived due to the lack of authenticity and deep emotional connection.

  5. I went Saturday night. It's polarizing, as my friend LOVED it. I on the other hand wanted to leave -- and waited half an hour to give it a chance -- before finally doing so about 15 minutes from the end.) The sound was overamped to 100%; if I were going to go deaf, I'd want to at least not hate the show. I found the performance repetitive, lacking in any subtlety, and that the subtitles further added to pretentiousness. They were contrived. Beyond the pounding in my head, I felt that I was hammered over the head with the concept. It almost felt like torture to stay. Of our group of four, one other left besides me; two others stayed, with the fourth saying she was between love (our friend's assessment) and hate (mine) -- ie. straight down the middle. I escaped to the 2nd floor lounge to get some peace -- and a drink -- and then the act came on, it also being super loud to the point I wanted to leave there as well. "What's up with BAM and volume?"

  6. The music was too loud, but that was not the major take away. (I put my ear pods in.) Great concept, choreography was challenging to the performance and the audience. Performed very well, loved all the movement isolated to the top of those boxes. My negative, is that there were two endings before the actual ending, I wish these sections of the shows had been more seamless. After the two trick endings, it made the show seem like it should have wrapped up sooner, that it was a little long. Over all quite favorable. And always will support the Next Wave Festival, even if it isn't as avant as it once was. Where else can you find Sankai Juku, Birds with Skymirrors, Robert Wilson, etc. Have been coming since it started, United States all 4 parts!


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