The queer dance project tackling the big issues
Matthew Richardson is a dancer and acrobat who specialises in the circus art of Roue Cyr .
Richardson moved to Montreal to develop his circus skills, progressing from aerial performance into the spinning spectacular of the Roue Cyr.
His latest project is a series of videos exploring the queer experience. The first of these is Hallelujah.
We caught up with Richardson for a behind-the-scenes look at his video project.
You’re creating a series of videos tackling different aspects of the queer experience. You’ve started with religion – why was that an important subject for you to tackle?
I wanted to lead with a piece addressing religion for a few reasons. I think religion plays a huge part in why LGBTQ individuals feel so much rejection and discrimination from the world. So much of that comes from religious beliefs that we don’t belong here. I grew up in south Georgia. For me, this piece speaks my response to anyone who has used their religious beliefs as a weapon against others, to force others to fit their mould, or made someone feel bad about who they are.
The Jeff Buckley version of Hallelujah is a powerful piece of music. What led you to choose this track to accompany this performance?
This song was my obvious choice, as soon as I knew I wanted to address religion. To me, the song has the perfect sense of irony, beauty and pain. It’s a mournful, powerful song that in my interpretation, speaks to exactly what I wanted to say. It’s about love and loss, the human experience. I knew as soon as the concept started to form in my mind, that this was the song I wanted to use.
The dancers featured are Guillaume Paquin and Arthur Morel Van Hyfte – what was your casting process?
These two guys are friends of mine. They are two of the most talented performers I know, and I approached them to do a project together before the concept for Hallelujah existed. I knew I wanted to work with them, and once they agreed, I started searching for ideas. This concept and idea was built with them specifically in mind.
What do you hope that people feel when watching this performance of Hallelujah?
I hope that those in the queer community will feel peace watching it. I hope that it will inspire and heal. And for those who are of a religious faith watching, I hope it inspires a reflection on how we should treat those who are different. I hope it inspires more kindness in the world.