Martial Arts+Gaming For Kuebler

Radical System Art’s Artistic Director, Shay Kuebler, explores the glorification of violence in media culture for his new work, Glory. The piece includes a versatile performance language of martial arts, street dance, and contemporary choreography, while integrating film clips, gaming battles, and even lighting tricks.

We spoke to Shay about the inspiration for the work.

DANCEWORKS:  Can we talk about the inspiration for Glory? Film? Artist? Personal experience?

SHAY: Glory has many different influences, but most significant was my childhood and foundation in martial arts. I grew up studying a form of karate that was very much against violence. The forms and techniques were only used for self defense.

However, during this same period of time, the action/martial art movie boom of the 1980s and 1990s was in full swing. I was a huge fan of action movies because of the martial art performances, yet at the same time, the films were glorifying and beautifying violence. I soon realized how violence became more amplified and glorified to shock and provoke.

Additional influence came from cartoons that referenced samurai, ninjas, robots, and comic books – specifically the Marvel Universe. The way comics depict action – frame by frame, picture to picture, is a sort of stop motion collage.

DANCWORKS: The title Glory is a powerful word choice. Was it challenging to find just the right word for this work?

SHAY: ‘Glory’ is something one attempts to achieve in a battle. For me, ‘glory’ also suggests glorify and glorification: taking something and amplifying, accelerating and augmenting.

DANCEWORKS: Thank you, Shay.

DanceWorks presents Radical System Art’s Glory on April 28 – 29, 2017 at 8pm at the Harbourfront Centre Theatre. Tickets are available here.

*This interview has been edited and condensed.


Stay Connected with DanceWorks



    Donors are the heart of our season.

    We acknowledge the Toronto/Tkaronto as One Dish One Spoon Indigenous territory. We honour the ancestral caretakers of this land: the Haudenosaunee Confederacy, the Wendat and most recently the Mississaugas of the Credit First Nation who have a Treaty relationship with Canada. We are grateful to have the opportunity to work in their community, on this territory. We pay our respects to their Elders past, present and future.