Friday, March 28, 2008

behind the scenes glimpse on youtube!

Check out a bit of behind the scenes with Matthew and me, captured by Jessica Baran and Julye Huggins from DUO!

Ava Soolingen and Tars Larsen prepping for the stage....

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

One week to opening show!

A two hour rehearsal, a three hour rehearsal and a two hour yoga class and I'm realizing that this time next week I will be sweating and out of breath at this hour probably in the final minutes of my duet with Matthew Romantini. Yesterday DUO lovelies Jessica Baran and Julye Huggins came into Matthew and my rehearsal, filmed a bit of our work and interviewed us. Matthew and I were at turns silly and very serious so we are worried how they will edit it! Perhaps me saying "The National Ballet's Rolling Stones ballet sucked!" or something about whether or not our bums look good in our choreography. It's funny how even with a short creation process the intensity is such that we pick up each others' body language and jokes. I take it as a good sign that we're ready to be on stage together!

Similarly Jennifer Dallas and I, dancing in Susan Kendal's work in the same show, have discovered that we can avoid train wrecks of our memory quite fluidly together. For some reason this is more exciting to me than knowing I can perform a work perfectly: knowing that I'm on stage with someone who can freestyle with memory or muscle failure. It makes you stay present, and totally in the moment. I love it.

I'm glad there's one week left before opening. But I will be ready....

Saturday, March 22, 2008

11th hour

We're less than two weeks to the opening of Ava/Chroma, the show I am coproducing with Susan Kendal as part of DanceWorks CoWorks series. My dear new friend Kyle Abraham is coming in from New York to perform, my coproducer is 8 and 1/2 months pregnant, and up until Tuesday my cocreation with Matthew Romantini was feeling good, but not great yet.

So now I will sing the praises of having an outside eye come in. Early on in the process, Matthew and I had the great fun of working with Julia Sasso. She pushed us right out of our habits and skewed our view on the material we'd made so that we could see new potential for it.

On Tuesday, Andrea Nann came in as our outside eye and watched a run of the 20 minute duet we'd made. She asked a few questions, suggested rearranging the order of the sections and we ran it again. PRESTO! The work was taking on all the things we felt it had been missing.

At first I felt like a failure because I hadn't seen this possibility....but I hadn't actually SEEN the piece, I'm dancing in it! Plus I refuse to use mirrors in rehearsals whenever humanly possible. How did I expect myself to understand what the full, continuously shifting picture might be? My job as an interpreter of dance who also creates dance changes as the process moves closer to performance. The movement finds its own spirit and I focus on channelling my energy to fill it. In the 11th hour, another pair of eyes can make sure that the loose spirit of the choreography and the dancers' channels of energy tell the same story.

What a thrill to have worked with two such amazing and different outside eyes, who each were the perfect fit at the time they came in to the studio with us. I am ready to bat this one home now. I hope you are there to see it, and to let me know what you think.

Ava/Chroma runs April 2-5 at Theatre Centre (1087 Queen St. West) 8pm
Tickets are $15-20 -- call DanceWorks at 416 204 1082 for reservations and tickets!

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Sarah Slean's poem for my dancework "The Abecedarian".

For those who were asking -- here is the poem Sarah Slean wrote for me as I created my dance work "the Abecedarian". An abecedarian, for those who don't already know, is an ancient poetic form in which the lines or images appear in alphabetical order. Sarah was very kind to give me such a beautiful 'score' from which to create my dance. (You can see an excerpt of that dance on YouTube:

A - amelia earheart yearning to fly. awe flowers open in her dreaming eye. like the long and constant exhale of the sky while the monk at his table, is writing.
B - what you reach for is already there, in your hand, you may think we are birds condemned to the land, but somewhere eternal, beyond feeble sight. the gravity creature is always in flight.
C - consecutive clock has an itch it must scratch, it will tick and will tock and will cower and crack, but "circle", the word, contains all that C knows, the hard kick of time and the soft way it flows.
D - parting the years like a volatile sea... "Now" opens time like a dictionary from young to old and from A to Z you are always right there in the middle
E - ecstatic, the embers fly up to the trees, exhaling their lives with elegant ease the campfire instructs us to rise from our knees but who, of the gathered, is listening.
F - follow me follow me follow me follow me today is the fountain from which you must feed forget that you fell from that Genesis tree the fruits and the flowers are not fantasy
G - "God" is the guess that they want you to make but grace, when it's granted, won't let you partake go further instead, to the uncharted lake, where you know golden swans are a-swimming.
H - the earth softly utters a holier word in the hollow where bickering gods can be heard "heaven is coming", "it's already occurred!" they shout in the faces of unnoticed angels
I - this, the illusion we ironically see, that I am not you, and you are not me like ivy its climbing and choking the tree that, despite a great crown, grew from one common seed
J - jewels of sweat on the Jesuit brow, mecca vibrates under thundering bows and the monk, at his table, cannot fathom how there is only a mouse in the temple of Now
K - yet who can contest its most curious might? this killer of kings, this glorious knight who quiets the enemy, not with a fight, but almost as if letting go of a kite?
L - in longing to know, we must love the unknown with Kierkegaard, trembling, and aching for home we leap and discover the light in a stone is the very same light in the heart of a master
M - "master?, what master?", the suicides ask "How am I a slave if I know not my task? How can I love God when I know it's a mask that my own starving mind has created."
N - Napoleon squirms in his watery grave and Nietzsche's convinced that there's nothing to save. he spat on the flowers the poetess gave as she murmured the sonnets of Rilke.
O - Overmen shatter, but archers will go, even though hard the seasons of suffering blow watch how he opens, caresses his bow in the midst of uproarious battle.
P - piercing all shadows with blistering light the arrows flies high through the perilous night love, sent in earnest, will always make right the erroneous aim of its sender.
Q - then what must we make of the stumbling queen who gropes in the firelight for answers unseen? she poisons herself to dismantle the scene that plays and replays in her memory.
R - ravens assemble all over her chair and peck at the riches of rags in her hair tangled in puppetry, courting despair, her play will crescendo to ruin
S - that's when Seymour appears, his lost sister to claim, like the monk at his table, he tells her, "don't aim, how can you see, when you're drowning in shame, the You that is ancient and without a name?"
T - "Tomorrow torments you and time is the terror, a watch is the gift that will torture the bearer. to live is no art - art is for the pretender to live, my dear queen, is an act of surrender."
U - "Undo the divisions a hungry heart makes remember the swans in the uncharted lakes theirs is a silence that slowly unties the veil that for so long has covered your eyes"
V - a veil, she imagined, a veil of lace with patterns the mind wants to frantically chase a veil that, though lovely, obscures the true face of a queen who is yearning to see.
W - who will record the inquiry herein? all of these questions have answers built in Wonder is all, and forever has been the jewel in our cognitive crown
X - sometimes there is simply no need to explain the sexier side of existence is plain delicious it is to know pleasure and pain to court them, but never to marry.
Y - you are the puzzle, you, the perfection you, the miraculous, living reflection of everything vast and beyond feeble sight you are the gravity creature, alight!
Z - like sandbags from magical hot air balloons, we cut at the rope of our fictions and soon, there's a You that is ancient and without a name and zenith and zero are one and the same.