Six dancers with various training and backgrounds came together with the goal of constant change to create OURO Collective, a Vancouver dance group intent on finding innovative ways to challenge ideas and express their love for dance and interaction with other artists and audience members.
OURO Collective gets its name from the Greek word ouroboros, meaning “an ancient symbol depicting a serpent or dragon eating its own tail,” which Cristina Bucci deemed a good fit for her and her fellow dance members, who formed OURO Collective in Sept. of 2014.
Visceral Murmurs, the collective’s season finale performance on May 28, 2016 at VIVO Media Arts, was an interactive performance and book launch in collaboration with artist Jourdan Tymkow. The work looked at identity, migration and belonging, and featured each of the members’ personal cultural identity.
“OURO is very unique and we like the aesthetic and brevity of it,” says Bucci, dancer and choreographer.
Ouro in this context represents something that is constantly recreating itself, which for Bucci and her fellow dancers, is the ultimate goal: infinite creation. The collective’s members, aged 25–35 all come from diverse dance backgrounds including street dance, hip hop, popping, waacking, contemporary, jazz and ballet, and came together after working together previously on various projects.
“We all seemed to have a common interest in working collaboratively. We decided to rent a studio – just us exchanging ideas and movements, jamming or session-ing,” says Bucci.
Bucci, who has been moving to music from a young age, is mostly drawn to street dance.
“B-boys and b-girls sharing their energy on the street, usually making a circle. It came out of a non-formalized institution, helping people express things they are struggling with. It’s a way of people to get whatever they are feeling out in dance,” she says.
OURO Collective’s Rina Pellerin was trained in recreational ballet at a young age but found she was drawn to street dance and then pursued house and hip hop.
“The one that really stood out to me was waacking. I’ve been pursuing it for the last 4–5 years,” says Pellerin who recently spent a few months in Seoul, South Korea.
Waacking is a street dance that started in Los Angeles in the 1970s and was popularized by Soul Train, explains Pellerin. She says that people of many backgrounds and nationalities, including gay, Hispanic and black people, would go into nightclubs, let loose and pose, using their arms to show their musicality and emulate 1920s Hollywood stars such as Marilyn Monroe.
“Waacking and vogue [dance form] are predominantly more feminine, using more arms similar to Korean, Chinese and traditional Indian dance,” says Pellerin, who adds that men tend to perform more acrobatic moves.
Pellerin says waacking is pretty new to Vancouverites with maybe 20 to 30 dancers doing it.
Working together in ouro
For Bucci, having six different artistic visions come together on single project is unique- a dance company normally has one artistic director and perhaps an assistant artistic director.
“The first year we brought in a mentor to guide the process of composing a piece of work; we thought it was a huge process for a new group. The second (current) season, we felt more comfortable with still a bit of guidance,” she says.
Bucci and Pellerin enjoy working with other artists and incorporating new mediums into their shows. Bucci says the group wants more of a social gathering feel with its audience as opposed to simply a typical performance dynamic.
“From lighting designers to fashion designers to musicians, we try to promote other artists on social media to show support locally and internationally. That cross integration brings a new audience to see dance,” says Bucci.
For more information, please visit www.ourocollective.com.