Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Do You Know? .....Lucy Rupert


Well, I'm the one who compiled all these EUNOIA interviews, and it is my blog, so it seems weird to introduce myself....But in case you don't know me, I'm a freelance dancer and theatre performer and for ten years I've been the artistic director/founder of Blue Ceiling dance. I've worked with a number of amazing choreographers and companies over almost 20 years of performing (eek!!) including Anandam Dance, Sashar Zarif, William Yong, Puppetmongers Theatre, Theatre Passe Muraille/Allison Cummings, and have spent about a dozen years working with Theatre Rusticle. This is my first time working with Denise Fujiwara's company, although she was an outside eye on two small projects of mine before EUNOIA started.

For what it's worth, here are my answers to the questions I posed to everyone else!

What were your first impressions or thoughts about EUNOIA the poem and the dance project when you first got involved in Denise's process?
I love poetry. At about 9 I decided that I was a weird kid and I should write poetry. i wrote in all small case letters for many years because of my affection for e.e. cummings.  EUNOIA the poem was new to me and my first reaction to reading it was "I need to read more poetry again."

In regards to the dance project, at first I was just overwhelmed by working with Denise, trying to understand her process, the quickness and incisiveness of her mind and then trying to 'get it right' for her. It was intimidating to work with all these astounding artists whom I knew a little, but had never worked with before. It took a while for me to shake off these pressures....so I guess I didn't realize what a crazy beast the piece was going to be until I was in very deep.


What is the greatest challenge of your role in the project?
That is tough to say. It is the first time I've been in a work that is simultaneously so physical and so textual without a character or a notion of character or narrative. Many creatures emerge, but there is not necessarily a way or a need to find an inner logic threading them all together. It is challenging, but ultimately very freeing. I think it has been a real exercise in 'hold on tightly, let go lightly'.


Do you have a favourite poem from Eunoia? 
There is one that we don't reference in the dance which I think starts "Crowds of Ostrogoths who howl for blood..." I rather like that one. It gets pretty gory and ghostly.  Right now my favourite that is included in the dance is from Chapter O '...bloodloss...troop doctors....blood donors'. It might be the references to Kosovo and pogroms that get me. We don't hear the words to this one on stage, but the transformation that is happening in terms of bodies, light, projection, sound is incredibly moving.


What has been your relationship or experience with words-and-dance in the past?
I've done a lot of speaking on stage in the last decade. Mostly with Theatre Rusticle where I've been able to explore the words of Trudeau, Rimbaud, Congreve, Strindberg, Woolf, Shakespeare, narrative accounts of the sinking of the Titanic, even some song lyrics from the Violent Femmes. William Yong had me sing in Mandarin in his work for me, Jenn Goodwin had me tell the story of breaking my arm while dancing.

It is odd to me that I have wound up speaking on stage so much, since my impulse to dance came from feeling misunderstood and unable to communicate with my peers during some tumultuous (some might say disastrous) teenage years. I have always felt my body was transparent to others, that the truth was obvious even when my words tanked.


How do you think the 4 year process of Eunoia will inform or influence your own work in the future?
I have been fortunate to be immersed in the ideas, fierceness, quickmindedness and experience of a big team of collaborators -- the design team, the dancers (including our irreplaceable understudy Lacey), the choreographer, the artistic support surrounding this massive project. I have learned a lot !! The sustained training in butoh has made gradual, almost imperceptible changes in me. I am making more subtle and more outrageous choices in all my work.

After several years of working on solos, I think EUNOIA's most lasting influence is the desire to be part of ensemble dances, to learn and absorb and share with others in this way again and again. It might go back to those lonely formative years, but it is thrilling to be on stage with others and know we are all part of the same world.

EUNOIA opens tonight
Wednesday March 19 8pm
Enwave Theatre
tickets:
http://www.harbourfrontcentre.com/worldstage/eunoia/



photo of Lucy Rupert by R. Kelly Clipperton courtesy of Theatre Rusticle


Thursday, March 13, 2014

Do You Know?....Gerry Trentham


Gerry Trentham is yet another of the impressive performers involved in Denise Fujiwara's EUNOIA. Since 1998 he has been working under the umbrella of pounds per square inch, creating three full evening works and over 30 short works. He is an in-demand voice and theatre coach for dancers, as well as teaching at the renowned National Voice Intensive. He has danced for many of the greatest Canadian choreographers, including 7 years with Dancemakers under Serge Bennathan's directorship. Gerry has a wicked sense of humour and a fluent mind for text analysis, not to mention his remarkable physical presence.

Here's his take on his role in EUNOIA -- which includes voice and speech directing as well as performing.

 What were your first impressions or thoughts about EUNOIA the poem and the dance project when you first got involved in Denise's process?
I had read parts of the book - dense is what I thought --how in the world will the audience stay interested in sitting and listening when in their homes they can always come and go from the book --- read a poem and then rest.   
I thought these poems are not based in sound, they are based in how words are spelt --- a very different kind of constraint. I wondered what kinds of world each vowel would create when each had a huge range of overlapping and varied sound and pronunciation.  
I thought yikes words, poetry, no inherent action in the text as in a play, I thought there are so many performative challenges to be deal with, are we crazy? 
          And I was very excited. I had faith, insatiable curiosity especially when it comes to the         impossible  and deep trust in the integrity of Denise Fujiwara.
What is the greatest challenge of your role in the project?
As a dancer --- being on the very thin line between expressing/ showing/ inventing beyond the demands of the work (the text, the dance, the task) AND denying inspiration that arrives  and is essential to the moment.

As voice director -- discovering ways to train myself and the cast to move between dance and text seamlessly, to train deeply in our understanding of the text, building and deepening the creative range of  our voices and a foundation for the breath that allows the text to live simply, directly and fully.
Do you have a favourite poem from Eunoia? 
In the beginning I did. Now I love them all. They have all come to life in different ways. It is my job to love each one--- what a great job! 

What has been your relationship or experience with words-and-dance in the past? 
I have always loved the stage but because I could hardly read, cold reading as an actor was out.  Then I took my first dance class I loved it. I also loved words --talking and writing. I wrote differently due to learning to read quite late in life --- it ended up a strange asset -- and my works have often had as much scripted text as dancing. 
After 15 years of performing dance, I did an MFA in Theatre and Graduate Voice Teaching Diploma with David Smukler, a much respected master of Voice. 
I love choreographing or performing words with dance - T.S. Eliot's "raid on the inarticulate'. I see a beautiful space of potential language - dance, text, poetry, words, story, music, design - a struggle to reveal the indescribable. It does not what form or language we call it. All performance is trying to find a way to be with each other  in this beautiful and terrifying world. 
How do you think the 4 year process of Eunoia will inform or influence your own work in the future?
I am changed. I have learned so much from witnessing Denise's leadership, her integrity, her unabashed creativity, her rigor, her generosity. We have discovered a host of new games to play with dance and text - deep embodied practices. 

My fellow collaborators have been such an inspiration throughout this process --- a group that is definitely hard to keep up to - kind, generous and hard working like you can't imagine and fun fun ... intense...then funny ...intense again.

EUNOIA 
choreographed by Denise Fujiwara
premieres March 19-22 at 8pm
part of Harbourfront's World Stage 2014
tickets
http://www.harbourfrontcentre.com/worldstage/eunoia/

photo of Gerry Trentham by Dominique Chartrand

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Drum roll, please.....the Fujiwara Poetry Invention Contest Winning Poem

Below is the poem selected as winner by EUNOIA poet Christian Bok for its unique structure and sound among the entries. We thank all the poetry contest entrants. Every poem was fascinating and surprising.

By L.O.

sun
pun jump
un tum must

gun
sump hush
slump pump stump

up
flush ump
tut pup mum

fun
bugs plush
pub hunt puck

cut
rub tub
cuss mutt fuzz

tufts
skuzz punt
cup rum cult

us strut hull
lull musk
bug

hum unfug hun
buck gut
stung

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Do You Know?.....Miko Sobreira

Miko Sobreira is an impressive force in Toronto: performing, presenting a series in his home, teaching salsa at Lula Lounge and to youth, guiding troubled youth and inventing new ways to reach and interest them, and as a human hub that brings great and diverse people together. 

Born in Venezuela and trained originally in theatre, Miko has worked with Moonhorse Dance Theatre and Rubberbandance  among many others. He created a raw and ferocious performance with Rebecca Hope Terry and Sasha Ivanochko in Fujiwara Dance Inventions' No Exit, choreographed by Denise Fujiwara.

Here is Miko's take on Denise's latest project EUNOIA:

What were your first impressions about EUNOIA the poem and the dance project when you first got involved in Denise's process?


This sickish mind! (I'm talking about both Denise and Christian!)

Based on my theatrical background, I've been always attracted by challenging artists that never settle for the obvious, and in this particular opportunity, I was presented with the rare equation of fulfilling my attraction by two artists of this kind. 

It is very clear to me why Denise would be inspired by Christian's book, and also why it makes so much sense: their non-sense approach.

What is the greatest challenge of your role in the project?
Removing the self that I knew so far as myself, while redefining me without making it as a formula, instead as a constant transformation!
Do you have a favourite poem from Eunoia? 
Every time that I revisit a poem from the book, it becomes a brand new poem; however from the ones that I had the luxury to work on [textually] 'Cold storm fronts' has a deep impact on me, as well as for the work that my peers do while I'm delivering it.
what has been your relationship or experience with words-and-dance in the past?
I was originally a Comedia del Arte performer, a physical type of theatre, that very much embodies the essence of languages through movement.

I studied and worked with Hugo Marquez for ten years; one of the most well known masters and directors of this field from South America.
How do you think the 4 year process of Eunoia will inform or influence your own work in the future?
Immensely, not only on my work, even in a personal level.  The transformation that I have embraced in my private life, it is directly affected by this process.

EUNOIA
choreographed by Denise Fujiwara
premieres March 19-22 at 8pm
Enwave Theatre
part of Harbourfront's World Stage 2014
tickets


Monday, March 10, 2014

Do You Know?....Denise Fujiwara


If you are following contemporary dance in Canada and don't know Denise Fujiwara you may have been living under a rock. This woman has been a force within the dance community for over 35 years. She started as a gymnast, as part of the Canadian rhythmic gymnastics team, graduated from York University's dance program, founded T.I.D.E. (Toronto Independent Dance Enterprise) and went on to cement her choreographic and performance career through Fujiwara Dance Inventions. She has been mentored by the best and is one of the best mentors herself. 


Never afraid of a behemoth, Denise's last ensemble work for her company was inspired by Sartre's No Exit. Now she's taken on Christian Bok's conceptual poetry EUNOIA.

Here are just a few burning questions answered by Denise.

 What made you want to try EUNOIA as a dance/performance work?


I got the idea to use a piece of text as a score for a dance work and pretty immediately thought of Eunoia.  Robert Lepage, the great theatre artist advises, “Start with a juicy fruit.”  Eunoia is juicy.  

In creating his book of poetry, Bök gave himself a major constraint, the use of only one vowel per chapter.  This device is transparent and the audience can see and delight in the creativity and intelligence the author employed in the writing.  The content ranges from the fanciful, to the serious, to a retelling of the Iliad, to smut, to literary criticism.  Constraints provide wonderful parameters for creativity.  

The specificity and detail in the material was a wonderful challenge to create from.  We made parallel constraints to create the choreography, video, music and costumes that relate to the poem and expand it into an alternate world of performance.  Bök set the bar very high. 

What is the greatest challenge --because  I'm sure there are dozens and dozens -- of creating this work?


The greatest challenge is working within the constraints.  Christian set the vowel constraints and they were adapted to the choreography.  I decided we would initiate movement from vowel-specific body parts, and that we would use the verbs as sources for the movement invention.  

As well, the other collaborators, Phil Strong, the composer and the video designer, Justin Stephenson adopted constraints in their media, which effected the choreography, the performers and the work as a whole.  

At first we all thought that our constraints might get in the way and make the creation of a good work impossible, but then we all found that they pushed us to create from different places and we found fresh new solutions.

Do you have a favourite poem from EUNOIA? 

I love many of them.  They are by turns irreverent, witty, silly, profound, dirty and delightful.  I think the first E poem is important because it gives the thesis of the book.

What has been your relationship to words/text in your past work?


I started working with text and spoken word in the early 1980’s.  When I worked with T.I.D.E., we experimented with original and found text over a period of 10 years.  In the 90’s and for the next 15 years I was mostly mute.  I decided that using text and spoken word was an easy out as a way for the choreographer to create meaning in dance.  I became really interested in trying to discover what was specifically possible to communicate with the body through movement without the help of language.  This was the period where I immersed myself in Butoh. 

Butoh works from a different paradigm and in a way, I learned a new language in Butoh.  In 2007 we created a danced adaptation of Sartre’s play, No Exit.  In the play, 3 people sit around in a locked room and talk. In the dance, the 3 people, (Sasha Ivanochko, Hope Terry and Miko Sobreira) move with metaphorically sourced movement that is incredibly specific, non-narrative, and yet, tells the story.  I studied that text long and hard, and developed a deep appreciation for the play.  

After that I thought it would be a challenge to use text as a score like one might use music.  I chose Eunoia, even though, at the time I had no idea how to actually realize the book in dance.  That seemed a challenge enough, but then Phil Strong, the composer, laid down the constraint that all of the text should be spoken live by the dancers.  That put a whole new spin on the challenge and that’s when I brought Gerry Trentham onto the team to act as Voice Director for the work.  He’s one of the core teachers for Canada’s Voice Intensive as well as being a hugely experienced dancer and choreographer.


How do you think creating EUNOIA will influence or inform future creations?


First of all, creating Eunoia has taught me how strict and scary constraints can push creativity.  The level of rigour involved in this work is very dense and very satisfying.   It has set the bar higher. 

Secondly, the performers, Sylvie Bouchard, Claudia Moore, Lucy Rupert, Miko Sobreira, Hope Terry, Gerry Trentham, and understudy/rehearsal assistant Lacey Smith, all trained in voice, butoh for this work, and contributed their own particular skills as performers. They astounded me with their ability to assimilate and perform the very specific ideas, dance styles, very difficult text, improvise, do set choreography, using Butoh and Freeing the Natural Voice principles.  They have also set the bar at a new very high level.  

Thirdly, it has taught me how to work on a larger scale.  The team of collaborators who created the music, video design, lighting and costume design have been a pleasure to work with, enriched the dance and make it even more engaging in so many delightful ways.  

When I proposed this large-scale work to Adina Herling, our fearless Manager, and my amazing Board, they said, ‘We have to do this!’  It has taken all of us five years, and we are now finally ready to present it.

EUNOIA
choreographed by Denise Fujiwara
premieres at Harbourfront's World Stage 2014
Enwave Theatre
March 19-22 at 8pm
tickets:



Saturday, March 8, 2014

Do you know?....Rebecca Hope Terry


Rebecca Hope Terry or as many know her, Hope is a remarkable artist: singer, dancer, writer, choreographer, actor, healer.  I won't sum it up here, for fear of missing some wonderful facet of her so check out:

http://www.themovingcompanyperformance.com/Pages/About%20the%20Artistic%20Director.html

And now, a bit of Hope's impressions on the process and production of Fujiwara Dance Inventions' EUNOIA.
WHat were your first impressions or thoughts about EUNOIA the poem and the dance project when you first got involved in Denise's process?

It felt sort of like a monster. EUNOIA is a monster of a poem, mammoth really. An exciting, brilliant, super-charged mammoth.  It was all very intriguing, but I admit that part of me wondered if it was impossible. As the process began to shape itself I realized that it was still a monster, but a nice one.

What is the greatest challenge of your role in the project?
Getting my self out of the way. Embracing freedom. The piece is invented, that is, I don't feel that there is another piece like it, or another method, or another approach like this one we have for Eunoia. It takes a tremendous amount of faith. to let go of 'tried and true' methods and risk being a crappy artist/ dancer/ actor. Sometimes I felt like I was falling, falling. I would just leave my disbelief at the door and free-fall into unknowingness. It is a fragile time full of grace and potential. Denise is such a gracious person, so I knew it was safe to take the leap. I'm such a lucky gal!

Do you have a favourite poem from Eunoia? 
I don't have a favourite poem as they really are so different from each other. I do enjoy being in the moment and I love hearing and watching everyone in the work.  If I can get my self out of the way and let the work or spirit or me or whatever that thing is that moves through us, the vessel - well it feels like a love of life and love of being empty and full at the same time.

What has been your relationship with words-and-dance in the past? 

I had a pretty severe stutter as a kid, so 'words' were not easy, let along 'words- and-dance'! Learning not to hold my breath helped as well as singing and dancing (very badly) in a high school musical.

Professionally, I first started working with words and dance in Vancouver in 1992, when I was working with Lee Eisler of Jumpstart. We were working on a piece about Frida Kahlo. I went on to study Meisner with Jacqueline McClintock, and theatre, and clown and voice with lots of folks in Toronto. I have created various one woman pieces Flame, Weather and works with lots of different dance and theatre directors, like Patti Powell, Ross Manson, Michele Coleman, Mark Christmann.

Gosh it is sort of endless  - this journey of discovering where literal meets abstract - where words and movement meet- I have been really fortunate to have had the support of great, searching, artists. My teachers and directors have been pivotal, like life-saving sort of pivotal. 

How do you think the 4 year process of Eunoia will inform or influence your own work in the future? 

I now know that one doesn't have to be in a constant state of misery or artistic strife to create good work so thats a relief. Phew! 

I suppose that I have shed my skin a number of times over the last four years. I'll steal what the graffitti artist says, who spray-paints the Highway 403 overpass with the words "I'm possible" What the heck does that mean? Not sure, but something in me rings when I read it. Maybe that is what will be in my work, fewer 'answers' and more mystery.

EUNOIA
world premiere
March 19-22, 8pm
Enwave Theatre
as part of Harbourfront's World Stage 2014

Tickets:
http://www.harbourfrontcentre.com/worldstage/eunoia/

horeography by Denise Fujiwara
Featuring Sylvie Bouchard, Claudia Moore, Rebecca Hope Terry, Miko Sobreira, Gerry Trentham and Lucy Rupert
Understudy Lacey Smith
Sound by Phil Strong
Film/Animation by Justin Stephenson
Lighting and technical direction Roelof Peter Snippe
Stage management Marianna Rosato


photo of Rebecca Hope Terry courtesy of the artist's website.

Friday, March 7, 2014

Do You Know....Justin Stephenson?


Justin Stephenson is an award-winning filmmaker and animator based in Toronto who has an amazing array of experiences from experimental and feature film, to children's work for TVO, music videos for the Rheostatics and Sarah Slean, and film/animation for Fujiwara Dance Inventions' EUNOIA. On top of being a remarkable and imaginative artist he is also one of the nicest people you could work with.  For more about Justin and his work: http://justinstephenson.com/

Here's his take on EUNOIA:


What were your first impressions about EUNOIA the poem and as you first got involved in Denise's project?
I was surprised by the idea of staging Eunoia as a choreographed work. When Denise and I first met about the project she described her process as a reflection of the constraints used by Christian rather than an expression of the text. I was really excited by the idea of a choreography that organized the idioms of dance around linguistic ideas rather than narrative or expressive ones.

What is the greatest challenge of your role in the project?
As a filmmaker and moving image designer, the screen is where everything takes place - the moving image is the endpoint. As a part of this production, it became very clear that the video work operated more as a cast member and that its richness and complexity arrive through its interaction with the choreography, performances, the text and musical composition.

My usual impulse when designing for the screen in film and TV is to create an image in which all parts move and interact with each other within the frame and in time. The biggest challenge for me was to reorient the design in a way that was more spacious - to leave space for the interaction between the picture and the performance. With a piece as complex as this, this necessitated a very minimal, elegant approach.

Do you have a favourite poem from Eunoia? 
Well I have a few. From a performance perspective, I think that Dull Susurrus Gusts is my favorite. I feel that the choreography, the performance of the text, the video and sound come together in a way that really embodies a love of the text and of language. For me, it perfectly stages the approach of the piece and transports you into another place.

I also love Dutch Smut. Its a filthy display of raw intelligence or an intelligent display or raw filth - I go back and forth on this. I always surprises me makes me laugh. On of my favorite parts of this piece is hearing the dancers work on this text with the voice coach. They repeat sections of the text over and over again which makes me laugh in rehearsals.

What has been your relationship or experience with dance, poetry or a combination of the two in the past?
I started my career making dance films, I have always felt there was a deep kinship in the two mediums in the very fact that they are, at their core, about movement.

I have not worked with dance for well over a decade now due to business -- but also due to poetry. I have a long standing love of avant garde and contemporary conceptual poetry. I have been working on a film for many years based on the work of Canadian author bpNichol.  I even ended up doing a graduate degree based on the project.

I think, in many ways, working on this piece with Fujiwara dance, has brought these two loves of mine together again.
How do you think the process of Eunoia will inform or influence your own work in the future?
Well I am certainly interested in continuing to design for live performance. I mostly enjoy working with constraints. I think we are always working with constraints one way or another, but to make them explicit leads to surprising work.

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Do You Know?.....Sylvie Bouchard....of course you do.




Sylvie Bouchard has had an impressive and diverse career so far and to add to that spectrum of work she is part of Denise Fujiwara's EUNOIA, premiering March 19-22 at Harbourfront Centre's Enwave Theatre as part of World Stage.




Sylvie is originally from Montreal and came to Toronto to train at the School of Toronto Dance Theatre in 1983. Her career has spanned so many things, we can't mention them all here but a few include:co-founding CORPUS, creating Dusk Dances and launching Bouchard Danse as well as dancing for Kaeja d'Dance, Winnipeg Contemporary Dancers, Dancemakers, Susie Burpee, Sashar Zarif and Roger Sinha.

Here is Sylvie's perspective on EUNOIA.
What were your first impressions or thoughts about EUNOIA the poem and the dance project when you first got involved in Denise's process?


With Eunoia, I plunged in such unknown territories with speaking text, especially this absolutely beautiful but difficult text, for me, because English is my second language. I felt frustrated at times and wanted to speak French because it is easier for me to make sense of words and poetry in my own mother tongue. The poetic and playful way Denise made us use our bodies with the poems was extremely challenging, but at the same time felt so freeing, full of discoveries, surprises, details and new possibilities.
 
What is the greatest challenge of your role in the project?

In the piece, we often have to quickly and radically change who and what we are on stage, how we engage with one another, how we set-up our body and mind, how we connect with the audience. These transitions are challenging and demand a lot of focus, commitment and practice. But perhaps the greatest challenge for me is that you can't try to be a "good dancer" in this work,  you rather have to do the tasks as skillfully as possible, and be as present, open and committed as you can with those tasks.
 
Do you have a favourite poem from Eunoia? 

Fishing till twilight, I sit, drifting in this birch skiff......
I absolutely love this story and the vivid imagery that comes with it. To me, it is a story of survival, with images of fishing, a sinking ship, and swirling waters, but to me, it also parallels times when you feel like you are drowning inside, when an internal tempest makes you sink.
 
What has been your relationship or experience with words-and-dance in the past?

None. I have always been interested in a somewhat theatrical approach to dance, but I have never spoken text on stage before. Eunoia is my first.... The training we got with Gerry Trentham and Cindy Block was incredibly thorough and thoughtful, I could not have asked for a better way to delve into speaking text on stage!
 
How do you think the 4 year process of Eunoia will inform or influence your own work in the future?

Working with Denise has already informed and influenced my own practice both as a dancer and choreographer. It is very powerful work, and relentless at teaching you about performance, about your habits as a performer and about openess. I became aware, for instance, that the element of air was always very present in my work, and I also often apply some of the exercises we do in Denise's process to prepare for other performances.

EUNOIA
choreographed by Denise Fujiwara
March 19-22 at 8pm
Enwave Theatre
part of Harbourfront's World Stage 2014
tickets:
http://www.harbourfrontcentre.com/worldstage/eunoia/


 

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Do you know?.....Lacey Smith



Lacey Smith is the founder and artistic director of Dasein Dance Theatre in London, Ontario. She completed a BFA (Hons.) in Performance Dance at Ryerson University, received Dance Ontario’s Creative Partnership and was selected as one of four finalists for Les Grands Ballets Canadiens de Montreal’s first National Choreographic Competition. In addition to performing her own choreography Lacey has interpreted works by D.A. Hoskins, Andrea Nann and is an associate artist with pounds per square inch performance. 

Lacey is the understudy for EUNOIA, a complex role as she is not understudying one person's part, but fragments of each performers role, as well as acting as rehearsal assistant.  She is an often unsung hero in the process of making and rehearsing EUNOIA and we thought you should know more about her and her view on this massive project.

What were your first impressions or thoughts about EUNOIA the poem and the dance project when you first got involved in Denise's process?
My first impressions of the poem…..mind boggled…
My first impressions of the project……unique and ambitious…..surreal (how did I end up in a room with all of these accomplished artists).
I often thought, I wonder where Denise is going with all of this?  It seemed and still seems extremely ambitions and challenging.  It is exciting being a part of something that is challenging our art form and forging new ground.

What is the greatest challenge of your role in the project?
Well depending on how you look at it I have two roles that often feel like seven.  I am both the rehearsal assistant and the understudy (of all six roles).  So I guess my greatest challenge has been to keep perspective on my task in all of this and devise ways that I can both keep extremely accurate records of the work but also find ways to know the text and movement scores.  Sometimes this means learning one or two specific roles for one of the poems and sometimes I create my own movement within the score for other poems.  Unfortunately for me there really isn't any unison work in Eunoia.  I have resolved to the fact that it is impossible to be prepared to replace any of the six dancers so I decided that I needed to find and develop my own voice within the group and the work.  I am still trying to sell Denise on the sometimes Y role but it doesn't seem to fly:)

Do you have a favourite poem from Eunoia? 
Yes!  "Monks who vow to do Gods work…." from chapter O and the "Dhows from Colombo…" poem.  I guess I like the O's!!!!  The vivid imagery and dramatic context is so fun to play with when speaking them.

What has been your relationship or experience with words-and-dance in the past?
Nil.  I have never worked with text in a dance project before.  The only experience I had previous to this were the few acting and voice classes I took during my studies at Ryerson.  Oh and I believe I also played Glinda in The Wiz in grade seven which required me to speak a few lines onstage and sing a song while moving about. 

How do you think the 4 year process of Eunoia will inform or influence your own work in the future?
Working on this process with Denise and all of the dancers in the cast has already begun to change the way I work and has influenced me in so many ways.  The biggest change for me has been to really question the possibilities of dance and of myself as an artist.  It is giving me the confidence and skills to go into unknown territory within my own work and dig deeper into what I don't know.  

Another big thing for me has been the voice work.  Working with Gerry (Trentham) and Cindy (Block) has given me more confidence in speaking but has also informed my dancing substantially.  Overall it seems that working in this process with these specific artists has made me see myself in a light I have never seen from before.  I have learned more about myself in these last four years then ever before and have discovered I have a lot more to offer then I ever imagined.  What a great gift.

EUNOIA 
choreographed by Denise Fujiwara
Fujiwara Dance Inventions
premieres at World Stage
Enwave Theatre
March 19-22, 2014 at 8pm
http://www.harbourfrontcentre.com/worldstage/eunoia/


with Claudia Moore, Sylvie Bouchard, Gerry Trentham, Rebecca Hope Terry, Lucy Rupert, Miko Sobriera
with sound by Phil Strong, media design by Justin Stephenson
Lighting Design by Ron Snippe
Stage management by Marianna Rosato