photo courtesy of Gadfly
LR: I love that your pieces get slightly updated names with each production, the 2.0, 3.0 at the end etc…What have you learned or developed in the pieces as you’ve restaged over time?
OS: What we have learned I think is that those works were not finished. They were a snapshot in time of where we were as artists and things have changed. Being able to revisit works is not a chance but a must. We had to do it. We are not finished. We are not satisfied. We owe it to the people who come see our works. It is our choice. Go back into the lab and fix things that might have been rushed.
What we’ve gained is that our works represent where we are in our heads. We change, we grow and so do those works, especially the ones coming from very personal places.
LR: And the pieces you are premiering — what are the inspirations for them?
OS: Inspiration is a very tricky term for me. I don’t buy into the idea of one thing as the trigger for creating a work. We can promote it as such, but the work that we do, 24/7 365 days a year, we keep everyday going through things, asking things, enduring things, gaining knowledge and that feeds us when we hit the studio. We are never a blank slate. Never with one thing “this is going to be the inspiration”.
We go in and we go from instinct but that instinct is already a baggage composed of knowledge and experience we’ve acquired since we last came into the studio to make a piece.
LR: One of your premieres, DespiteBecause, is an immersive experience — how does this work at Harbourfront Centre Theatre? What does immersive mean to you?
OS: That’s a two part question so part A: We adapt to the architecture, the space, the liberties and constraints that the theatre gives us. It makes for a good challenge to makes something we haven’t done before. We keep searching. We don’t like to repeat.
And part B: For us it’s just trying to be closer to the people that come see our work. Try to touch different senses, touch their senses in different ways. It’s just that Narrow down the gap between the person who comes to watch and the performer.
LR: With all the challenges of being an artist, and the physical demands of dance, what keeps you motivated? inspired?
OS: I don’t know. Good question...It feeds us. Yes it is hard, especially to put big productions together, and it’s hard physically, our injuries and injuries of the dancers who work with us….
We’re motivated to move people. In this day and age so much is about consuming: splash, splash and noise, not much substance. Not much is meant for us to think, process and come up with your own conclusions. Someone has to do it. There are people who have to fight to do it. It’s not easy, but that’s what moves us.
LR: Are you dancing in this production?
OS: At this moment neither Apolonia nor I, are performing. I was planning to but I have a knee injury that is taking a while to heal -- since last November. It is very unlikely I will perform…but you never know..
LR: What do you see as the fillable gap in the Toronto dance scene — what do we need, who are we missing, what possibilities are we not taking advantage of?
OS: That would be a whole interview in itself.
I can’t speak for everybody but I think collaboration is something that is always undeniably strong and offers growth for a lot of people. More collaborations. More solutions rather than complaining. And remembering that dance is important. To move to be creative.
LR: What are you reading? I am always so curious and game to add more books to the big stack I have to read!
OS: During production time, I’m not reading not much. But over the past year, I’ve been really liking The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg, about subconscious, how we can control it, play with it understand it. Very practical.
Another book I’ve been reading about is Kaizen – the idea of one small thing you can do to change something.
Connecting things, the habits book gives you the blueprint of our habits from our subconscious: trigger, routine, reward. If you want to change that you have to address all three, but you have to do the changes many, many times to build the new habit. So the second book says try the smallest little action first, the build from it. A really small step and add on it a little each day.
One small step you can make is to get on out to the final Mainstage show of DanceWorks’ 2017-18 season. Go see Gadfly:
choreographed by Apolonia Velasquez and Ofilio Sinbadinho
May 3-5, 2018 8pm
Harbourfront Centre Theatre