If you happened to be scrolling through the New York Sheep and Wool Festival website this past fall, one image likely caught your eye: A trio of humans dressed as sheep—complete with bells around their necks and grass in their mouths—and their shepherd dozing off in the distance. The sheep are the centerpiece of Les Moutons, a “wordless live installation” that’s been performed more than 400 times by the Canadian dance company Corpus in some 25 countries. (Red tape and visa issues kept the group from performing as planned at Rhinebeck in 2016 but hopes are they will perform at the 2017 festival.) In it, the sheep do what sheep do. They’re herded, penned, fed, milked, and sheared. They bleat, eat, and copulate (not too graphically), escape into the audience, let children and adults feed and pet them, or just stand and stare into space as sheep are wont to do. It’s all delightfully weird, funny, intriguing, and hard to define. Is it dance? Performance art? Interactive children’s theater? The Corpus performers aren’t telling. After all, they say, it doesn’t really matter.
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