Sporting Life

Julia Sasso revisits her seminal 1996 work
Sporting Life DW214: Julia Sasso Dances


Twenty years ago, in her first full-length work, Julia Sasso decided to reverse the gender imbalance she has so often experienced as a dancer: a female choreographer would create a work for mostly male dancers. The result, Sporting Life, with a title taken from publications she remembered from her youth, of guys hunting and fishing, delves into the dark side of dominant masculinty. Sasso added one woman to the cast, originally danced by Julia Aplin, to demonstrate that women could be just as willing to participate and further threatening masculine behaviour and bullying. The work, which seethed with violence and interpersonal competition, received rave reviews.

This March, Sasso remounts Sporting Life with DanceWorks in Toronto. She recently told Mark Mann, that she had begun the process hoping to give the work a full overhaul. She saw a primitiveness in the work with which she no longer identifies. But despite how her choreographic style has changed, Sasso ultimately decided not to alter the rawness of the original. “Works of art aren’t valued by how they’re updated,” she said. “Accept it, trust the essence of what you felt and see how it resonates now.” 

To read more about Julia Sasso’s process and how other choreographers have revisited past works, read Mark Mann’s “Resurfacing” in the March/April 2016 issue

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