Bettina Szabo

Sequelles English definition: Sequela (usually used in the plural, sequelae) is a pathological condition resulting from a disease, injury, therapy, or other trauma.


            Sequelles, is the result of a choreographic investigation, based on a somatic approach to movement which shows the repercussion of emotions and memories on movement. The choreography is a structured improvisation inspired on childhood memories of 30 different women, whom spoke about things they weren’t allowed to do as children because of being girls.

            For this choreography I worked with Catherine Dagenais-Savard as dancer, Brice Gatinet composed the music that was interpreted by Pierre Alexandre Maranda. This combination of talent gave as a result Sequelles, a dance piece in which the audience is transported to a mysterious world where emotions and sound rule the body.


An interdisciplinary collaboration

            In Sequelles, both dance and music interpreters are on stage. The music serves as narrator who triggers the different states and reactions on a dancer, which is unconscious of its power.The musical composition was created based on the traces of sound and movement performed by the musician, how they resonate and put in relationship the musician, the instrument and the space. The choreography was created taking these resonant parameters into consideration, while movement flourished from a continuous morphing emotional state.

            Due to the live performance of dance and music there is a clear correlation and interaction among interpreters. Music proposes a timing that is decided by the reaction time and emotional state for the dancer.


The inspiration

            I come from Uruguay and I have been living in Canada for the past eight years. During this time I became conscious of the patriarchal nature of my country and to which point the social taboos and prejudices where embedded in my subconscious. For years, and until today, I have been questioning and in constant confrontation between the will to be a free woman in a more egalitarian society versus the unconscious patronisation and self-critique. I consider myself a feminist, but I have realized that women are not victims of the situation, but in some twisted way we, perpetuate this vicious cycle. When we criticize other women regarding their attire, when we keep on feeding all those stigmas about being physically weaker because we want to look delicate. When we criticize life choices about work, motherhood, marriage, celibacy, sexual orientation or gender identity of other women, we are perpetuating a system that has oppressed us for centuries.

            Sequelles is the result of a first stage of research of a much larger piece, which would denounce criticism among women and highlight the potential beauty of womanhood. Thinking about why we do this and how to stop the vicious cycle, I came to the conclusion that this subconscious pattern came from childhood; more specifically (in my case) from the information I was given by my mother regarding what the appropriate behavior of a little lady is. 

            Thirty memories of thirty different women, of various generations and origins were the emotional triggers that allowed Catherine’s body to put in evidence the repercussions of these pieces of advice. Feelings like shame, discomfort, fear, anger and defeat came to surface throughout the research, and they shaped the movement vocabulary.  Sequelles also talks about the women that conformed to social pressures, (vain, delicate, sensual), the one that learnt to play by society’s rules in order to have some kind of power. This piece symbolizes the origin of the problem, the beginning of negative thoughts, the first criticism, the first learnt behavior, judgments that created the habit and traumas that women live with for the rest of their lives.

            I would like to take this opportunity to invite you to become part of my creative process. Below is the survey that I invited women to fill in and that served me as inspiration. I am still collecting responses since this information will inspire the next stages of my research, feel free to share with any women around you!