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J'ai pleuré avec les chiens -
Time, Creation, Destruction (2021)

CRITICS PICK : "A Fierce Clarity of Vision in ‘J’ai Pleuré Avec les Chiens’" - Siobhan Burke, New York Times, 2023

J'ai pleuré avec les chiens (Time, Creation, Destruction) is a dance-performance which employs the extreme energetic capacities of the body using both painful and playful ritual, repetition, voice and vibration. The performance exposes the consequences of colonization on the body and spirit. Five to Seven performers embody organization, categorization, carefully analyzed movement and athletic executions on a stage, closely surrounded by an intimate audience. These movements become rituals, eventually reforming and repairing the body through a vast flight of projected voice and energetic frequencies channeled by liberated bodies. Occupying and transforming the performance space throughout this journey of insistence and transformation, takes place as much for audience members as it does performers.



J’ai pleuré avec les chiens (Time, Creation, Destruction) is Daina Ashbee’s first group piece. Created before and during the pandemic, it went through the setbacks generated by it and then took shape again. The piece has incisive, sober precision and poetics of explosion and trance that we recognize as the signature marks of this choreographer.


Multiple, openly naked, bodies track through various states with chants, attempts at rapprochement, stacks on all fours, and lines of flight. From the rupture emerges the connection.

From the sounds produced by the bodies emerge the movements which, in turn, generate rumblings, yelps, tears, calls.

Far from illustrating or representing, the performers are embodied, transmitting like channels of flesh. Myriads of lived stories crystallize into living corporeal states of being.

The creative process began with the exploration of a sensation: seeking solace in the embrace of one’s dog, howling with this companion species¹. This process then evolved into a dive into canine body states. What has emerged from it today does not oscillate between animal and human, the bodily and the spiritual, the feminine and the masculine, nature and culture, suffering and care, anchoring and air. No, dichotomies and dualisms do not interest Ashbee. The notion of essence does not challenge her either: She thinks of the world as a weft of potentialities where everything can coexist, well beyond the binary.

J’ai pleuré avec les chiens (Time, Creation, Destruction) shapes a ritual of cohabitation and decompartmentalization – a constellation of possibilities that escapes confinement in a category, a genre, a territory, circumscribed affiliations. Everything there is transitory, fugitive.


Experience the piece by leaving analytical categorization in the cloakroom and open the way to sensory experience: that of a space where beings and things can continually transform. This is not a temporary disruption, but a reconfiguration of the sensible². In this, Ashbee’s work is anti-colonial. The colonial and capitalist relationship to the world is not only material where territories and bodies are to be conquered, classified, possessed, and exploited, but also cognitive and sensitive³. The colonial perspective considers the arts, knowledge and, in general, what makes up the world as commodities to be acquired and categorised. J’ai pleuré avec les chiens (Time, Creation, Destruction) constitutes a refusal of the ways of knowing, creating, and feeling that are marked by colonialism.

[Translated from original French text by Nayla Naoufal]


1 Companion Species Manifesto, Donna Haraway.

2 “Fugitive Indigeneity: Reclaiming the Terrain of Decolonial Struggle through Indigenous Art”, Jarrett Martineau and Eric Ritskes, Decolonization: Indigeneity, Education & Society, 3, 1, p. I-XII, 2014.

3 Ibid.



Artistic Direction, Concept, Production & Choreography: Daina Ashbee 

Rehearsal director: Gabriel Nieto

Current cast : Audrey Sides, Gabriel Nieto, Greys Vecchionacce, Elise Vanderborght, Sh'vii Rosen, Celia Green

Performers at premiere:  Gabriel Nieto, Greys Veccionacche, Angelica Morga,Briseida Lopez, Irene Martìnez


Mentor: Benoît LaChambre


Lighting Design: Vito Walter or Stephanie Van Sandt (pending version)

Musical compilation: Sean MacPherson, Daina Ashbee, Gabriel Nieto

Audio text : Louise Hay

Duration: 80 minutes


Photo: Nicolas van Achter

Video Trailer:

Video Teaser: Alejandro Jiménez


Co-production partners: KVS Brussels Stadstheater, Festival TransAmériques – FTA, Agora de la danse, Rencontres chorégraphiques internationales de Seine-Saint-Denis (FR), BIT Teatergarasjen (NO), National Arts Centre​, Centre de Création O Vertigo - CCOV, EMPAC / Curtis R. Priem Experimental Media and Performing Arts Center - Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, NY


Residency partners: KVS Brussels Stadstheater, Harbourfront Centre (TO), Montpellier Danse (FR), CCOV (Mtl)


Funding partner: Developed with support from the National Art Centre’s National Creation Fund, Canada Council for the Arts, Conseil des Arts et des Lettres de Québec​​​​​


September 2023


Kitchener, Ontario

March 22-25, 2023

The Dance Centre

Vancouver International Dance Festival

January 13th & 14th, 2023


New York City, New York

January 11th, 2023


Troy, New York


October 23 & 24, 2022


Bergen, Norway 

August 9 - 11, 2022

Tanz im August

Berlin, Germany


May 17 & 18, 2022

Tanztage Potsdam (fabrik)

Potsdam, Germany 


March 9 - 12, 2022

Vancouver International Dance Festival

Vancouver, British Columbia

June 15 & 16, 2021

Brussels, Belgium


June 9 & 10, 2021

Paris, France 


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