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New Dance Vocabularies

By Shay Erlich

As founder and artistic director of Corpuscule Dance, France Geoffroy has always been creating new dance vocabularies in Québec’s contemporary dance scene.

As a young dancer, Geoffroy was accepted into a dance program at her local CÉGEP. But she was forced to pivot her career when, four days before the program was to begin, a diving accident changed her life, beginning a long process of rehabilitation and replacing the dance career that she had envisioned. Shay Erlich spoke with Geoffroy about her career, her pull to avoid centering her work around disability and her upcoming work Quadtriptque.
 

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Depuis ses débuts, France Geoffroy, la fondatrice et directrice artistique de Corpuscule Dance, crée de nouveaux vocabulaires dansés sur la scène québécoise contemporaine. Jeune danseuse, Geoffroy est acceptée dans un programme de danse au CÉGEP, mais quatre jours avant le début des classes, un accident de plongeon vient transformer son parcours. Commence alors un long processus de réhabilitation et ensuite de remplacement de la carrière en danse qu’elle s’était imaginée. Shay Erlich parle à Geoffroy de sa carrière, de ses efforts pour que son handicap ne soit pas au centre du travail artistique et de son nouveau projet en cours, Quadryptique.

Joannie Douville and Mélanie Labelle / Photo by Mikaël Theimer

 

Submerged

A photo essay featuring three underwater dance photography projects.

More and more dance artists are experimenting with underwater photography. Dancers and photographers share their images and tips. 

Emily Law / Photo by Meaghan Ogilvie

 

Dancing Words into Being

By Carolyn Boll

How do contemporary dance artists integrate poetry into their creative practices? Writer and poet Carolyn Boll talks with Peggy Baker, Sandra Laronde and Denise Fujiwara about their poetic gestures.

Baker, discusses her newest work, who we are in the dark, in which she draws upon quotes writers as diverse as Franz Kafka, Pablo Neruda, Sylvia Plath and Rainer Maria Rilke, among others. Laronde details her rehearsal process for Backbone, which started with her asking the performers to “write a poem about their spine.” And, Fujiwara talks about using a “wordscore” in her work EUNOIA, composed of and named after poet Christian Bök’s remarkable poem.
 

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Comment les artistes de danse contemporaine intègrent-ils la poésie à leur travail ? L’écrivaine et poète Carolyn Boll a rencontré les chorégraphes Peggy Baker, Sandra Laronde et Denise Fujiwara pour discuter de leur processus de création en mouvement et en mots. Pour sa dernière création, who we are in the dark, Baker s’inspire d’auteurs aussi divers que Franz Kafka, Pablo Neruda, Sylvia Plath et Rainer Maria Rilke, parmi d’autres. Laronde décrit les répétitions pour Backbone; elle a commencé en demandant aux interprètes d’écrire un poème sur leur colonne vertébrale. Et Fujiwara discute de la partition de mots pour sa pièce EUNOIA, composée à partir du remarquable poème éponyme de Christian Bök.

Samantha Halas and Jera Wolfe in Red Sky’s Backbone, conceived and directed by Sandra Laronde, choreographed by Wolfe, Laronde, Agreer and Thomas Fonua / Photo by David Hou

 

Myth-Busting

What do you wish people knew about your artistic practice?

The Dance Current asked artists to share the misconceptions and assumptions surrounding the styles and genres they work in.
 

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The Dance Current a demandé à certains artistes d’éclairer les aprioris et idées reçues autour du style de danse qu’ils pratiquent, et de partager des notions sur ce style qu’ils aimeraient faire connaitre.

Eugene Baffoe / Photo by Quan Luong

Departments

Movers

Accessing the atmospheric
By Emma Kerson

Micha St-Pierre

Atmosphere is everything for Whitehorse artist Michaëla (Micha) St-Pierre. For someone whose world was informed by the harsh and majestic landscape of Yukon, before moving to Toronto, it’s no wonder her work resonates with a distinctive strength.

 

St-Pierre / Photo by Drew Berry

Movers

A realm of connection
By Nicole Decsey

Zeus Gonzales

Born and raised in Biñan, Philippines, Zeus Gonzales is now a dance student based in Winnipeg. It was in 2015 that Gonzales and his family immigrated to Canada where he began his formal dance training.

 

Gonzales dancing with the Chai Folk Ensemble / Photo courtesy of Gonzales

From Our Archives

Catching Up With Shawn Byfield
By Grace Wells-Smith

Dancer and teacher Shawn Byfield

Byfield Dance Experience, owned by dancer and teacher Shawn Byfield, is closing up shop at the end of March 2019, just before its tenth birthday. He isn’t simply moving on because of rising rent; he also says he feels like the universe is pushing him in another direction. That direction is all over the country.

 

Byfield / Photo by Ken Dobb

Inspire

The Slowest Person in the Room
By Eliot Britton

Composing music for dance

As a composer working in dance, Eliot Britton often feels like the slowest person in the room: his creative process as a musician can’t be easily adapted in real time. For him, genuine collaboration requires figuring out how to keep pace with rapidly evolving creative processes and learning to create at the speed of the collective imagination.

 

Photo by Jason Isaac, courtesy of Unsplash

The List

What inspires Tiffany Tregarthen?

What inspires Tiffany Tregarthen of Kidd Pivot, Modus Operandi and Out Innerspace Dance Theatre?

Tregarthen grew up dancing in Ontario, British Columbia, New York, Seoul and Antwerp. She creates work with her partner, David Raymond, in the Vancouver-based Out Innerspace Dance Theatre (OIS). In 2007 they created the education program Modus Operandi (MO) that nurtures aspiring contemporary dance professionals. Tregarthen has also danced with Kidd Pivot since 2013, performing in The Tempest Replica, Betroffenheit and Revisor.

Find out what motivates Tregarthen’s prolific work.

 

Tregarthen in Crystal Pite’s Betroffenheit / Photo by Wendy D

Practice

Real Change from School to Stage
By Sze-Yang Ade-Lam

Sze-Yang Ade-Lam offers suggestions for everybody working in dance and the arts who imagine a world with greater humanity and equality.

For most of us who are not the conventional-looking, normative dancer, we know far too well what it is like to be invisibilized or bullied in dance class and performance spaces. If we’re lucky, we also know how amazing it feels when we finally find teachers, choreographers or colleagues who recognize our value.

 

Ade-Lam and students / Photo courtesy of Ade-Lam

Provocation

The Tyranny of the Perfect Body
By Meagan O'Shea

Meagan O’Shea talks about how she has had enough of wasting energy on hating her body.

A new teacher, straight from company life as a dancer for a famous (and notoriously cruel) choreographer, pinches me and says, “Just a little everywhere.” I am eighteen years old in my first year of university.

 

O’Shea / Photo by Tristán Pérez-Martín

Backstage

Friction

Amorous Playlist is a new creation pairing contemporary dance company Social Growl Dance with Toronto singer-songwriter Blunt Chunks.

Six dancers and one musician perform in this eccentric and darkly romantic collaboration. The performance is a playlist of music and movement curated around themes of love, heartbreak, lust and sensuality.

For choreographer Riley Sims, a major component of the unseen backstage processes is shaped by the funding economy. “You can say the odds are somewhat against me as a mid-career choreographer with (what I still consider to be) an emerging dance company,” Sims explains. “Each year I increase the hourly rate to the artists I hire to align with CADA standards, and yet the grant amounts I can receive for creation funding, municipally and provincially, remain fixed. It’s difficult to offer work when it’s not enough to help the artists I hire to live and work as artists.”

In spite of these challenges, Sims continues to fight for the chances to work with the collaborators who inspire him and to develop creations that resonate with audiences. “I have welcomed more moments of improvisation and the possibility for discovery into my process,” says Sims. “There isn’t time to perfect and shape specific moments so they can be reproduced each night, but I’ve realized I’m less interested in that than before. This way of working has given myself and the performers more liberty to make choices and problem solve onstage during a performance and allows for moments of friction, ambiguity and newness to reveal itself. The audience can witness the creation growing and changing as it needs to.”

 

Ana Groppler, Genevieve Robitaille, Blunt Chunks, Kenney and Clarke Blair in Sims’ Amorous Playlist / Photo by Merik Williams

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