Author: Sabine Kortals

RUBBERBANDance brings both barrio and barre to Boulder

Growing up as a b-boy on the streets of Los Angeles, Victor Quijada never thought of hip-hop as an art form.

“That’s just what we were, we were hip-hoppers,” he says. “It wasn’t something we went to the dance studio to do. It was just the way that we moved, the way we talked, the music we listened to, the way we dressed, the way we expressed ourselves.”

Back then, Quijada danced to get attention. A few years later, he enrolled at the Los Angeles County High School for the Arts and he learned about dance’s potential to change the world.

“It was a very amazing moment for me to kind of realize that maybe my dancing … could possibly have the power to do more than what I was using it for,” he says.

As a young adult, Quijada showed so much artistic potential that no less a figure than Twyla Tharp admitted him to her company—despite his total lack of ballet experience. He spent his early 20s practicing at the barre by day and ducking into clubs by night, wondering whether he could someday merge his two passions. And that’s how, in 2002, RUBBERBANDance was born.

“It’s not just a cut-and-paste of ballet vocabulary, hip-hop vocabulary or break vocabulary,” says Quijada of his Montreal-based company, which performs mostly his own choreography. “It’s … everything that I’ve known and experienced to this moment.”

Quijada’s company admits dancers with wildly different backgrounds, styles and stories. They identify as Latin American, Asian, African American and First Nations. Some, like Quijada, honed their craft on the streets, while others are classically trained. The idea, says Quijada, is that everybody’s background is equally valuable to the company—because it lends the troupe a style and stage presence seen nowhere else.

“The surprise is in how [Quijada] combines things, and in the weightless, unaccented but deeply virtuosic content and phrasing of his dances,” says the Vancouver Sun. “Here is a true original.”

Join us for RUBBERBANDance at Macky Auditorium, March 24!