Janice Kerbel Sync (Tops and Bottoms) , 2017.
Photo : SITE Photography, courtesy of Catriona Jeffries, Vancouver

The score for Janice Kerbel’s Sink (2018) challenges a synchronized swimmer’s hyper-vigilant dancer-self to tune in. Though audience members may see the work as impeccable, Kerbel’s choreography is not as stylized and technical as a typical synchronized swimming performance. Sink forces its athletes to soften and deflate the performer inside, to flail more, to just be. Simple binaries like breathing and not breathing, holding limbs taut versus limp, or splashing versus sinking in hushed descent, punctuate the piece. Kerbel’s interest lies in the women being themselves and the pool being what it is. The Western Baths Club is an informal venue compared to usual sites for synchronized swimming performances. Enveloped in the thick smell of chlorine, audience members watched from benches positioned alongside the pool or the balcony.

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This article also appears in the issue 103 - Sportification
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