Interviews and musings on the intersection of ART and SCIENCE.
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The mysterious edge of discovery for artists and scientists.
Do you know?....Sharon Harvey
Here's the latest "Do you know?...." installation, this time covering one of the dynamic women involved in Dance Matters' first show of the 2014-15 season. Since I did not know much about Sharon myself when I started out to create this interview, below are my questions to get to know more about this unique and powerful performer.
You have a varied experience as a
performer/artist/mover -- can you tell me a bit about your history in dance — where you
trained, where you work, what kinds of things you work on?
I started my professional dance
performance career while doing my under graduate studies at York university
where I met my mentor Dr. Zelma Badu-Younge-Badu Dance Theatre an
African-modern dance company. Performing and travelling with her open my eyes
to a deeper understanding of black contemporary dance and style that were not
available to me at the time of in my training, styles such as Horton, Dunham technique,
few styles of South Asian, African dance from different regions of the
continent and dance style from an assortment of islands in the Caribbean. I
later studied and performed with Canadian dance companies within the black
dance community and continues to my ballet and modern training within Toronto’s
modern dance community.
I am a certified and licensed dance conditioning
specialist with a wide range of body conditioning somatic under my belt, such
as BalleCore, Pilates, CI-training, Floor Barre, Franklin technique which I
have explored and presented as a program within the dance, education community.
background my approach to my work as a choreographer is to pull on the
strengths and physicality of the dancers to tell the story. So when I had the
opportunity to do my Graduate studies in Choreography and Dramaturgy at York
University I decided that my thesis would expose the strength of the body and
how it tells the story with the use of textiles.
This idea that textiles can tell stories and
impact the physical reality of the dancer, is really compelling. So often in contemporary dance we
are costumed to look good or reflect an abstract idea of the dance — can you
speak about the way you work with and wear textiles in your work?
Before my dance career I studied Fashion Business and Design at
Sheridan college and I had minored in costume design during my BFA years at
York. My graduate studies Thesis
was BODY-DRAPING: How
movement can be created from costuming (fabric manipulation), how costuming is
created to support the meaning of the movement; and how costuming can bring out
the physicality of the dancer’s character.
When working with textiles I go
into the dramaturgical research of the topic looking at the dress of that time
as historically recorded, how the time reflects the character/topic of that
time. In this present project “I Am S.H.E.", the solo is truly
a duet with the fabric and the mover as it takes on an antagonist role within
the duet and sometimes the scenography of the space on stage.
Further to this, can you tell me a bit about
how textiles can empower women?
In researching the meaning of
textiles and beading historically it has been a sign of identity, hierarchy,
statues, tribes. I was inspired by the traditional ritual of young girls coming
of age in parts of the African continent and other indigenous communities
around the world.
The importance these rituals are put in the hands of elderly
women celebrating the transformation of the lives of young women through
preparation of waist beads, the costuming of the event, how fabric is draped,
the colours used for such an occasion, the dances that are passed down and
taught in the importance of their lives and the impact that it creates in the
circle of life. That’s where empowerment starts for me.
The empowerment of textiles and beading has also taken on a
role in the global economical world as women are now being recognized for the
creation and transporting of textiles and beadwork from such places as Nigeria,
Kenya, Wax-prints from Ghana, Asia, south America to name a few.
What else are you working on? what’s
I am working on presenting my
next piece of work Solo/SoulsDeep a vignette of a large project inspired by the
painting Sugar Shack by painter Ernie
Barnes (see image below). It will be presented in Dance Immersions “Queens Calling” February 6-7
2015. Also researching and creating a dance and textile installation using
recycled material for Fall 2015.
What is your dream project?
One of many dreams would be to
create short fashion/ dance films with collaborating fashion and textiles
SERIES 1 - A Woman’s Work
This series explores topics related to women’s rights and roles in society, women’s individual stories related to their heritage, culture or experiences and issues related to gender.
The venue is intimate and casual, with a focus on celebrating the dance medium with its audience.
Saturday November 8th @ 8pm & Sunday November 9th @ 4pm
Scotiabank Studio Theatre
6 Noble Street (Pia Bouman School)
Featuring: Judi ‘JULO’ Lopez (Tor), Marie France Foricier (Tor), Sharon Harvey (Tor), Lilia Leon (Tor) and Andrya Duff (Tor)
For more info on the upcoming Dance Matters show and to purchase/reserve tickets:
INTERVIEW WITH PETER CHIN OCTOBER 2019 written and compiled by Lucy Rupert Peter Chin at Pre Rup temple while making dance film (2020) Peter Chin, artistic director of Tribal Crackling Wind, dancer, choreographer and multidisciplinary artist, has been splitting his time between Canada and Cambodia for many years. Currently he is developing a new performance work “Trillionth I”, with dancers and musicians from Cambodia, Canada, Mexico and Italy. “Trillionth I” embodies subtle influences of community hopes and fears to reveal the universal energy between us all, and the healing that is possible through transmission of that energy in live performance. Last summer Tribal Crackling Wind performed excerpts in Allen Gardens and in the fall, performed excerpts of the work in a presenters’ showcase at Fall For Dance North, and as part of Nuit Blanche, outside the Royal Ontario Museum. Although “Trillionth I" lost its planned trajectory due to the global pandemic, the w
I subscribe to Dance Magazine, the hard copy that comes in the mail. It is often a slim volume with beginnings of ideas that they delve into more deeply on their website, and many of the articles are aimed at students or young professional artists. Still I love it, because I learn a bit about commercial dance, and Broadway shows, health insurance and wage issues in the United States and, each month, what drives a particular creator or dancer. Adeene Denton's short but compelling profile in a recent article about science and dance hovered off the page for me. A planetary geologist who is also a choreographer? I contacted her immediately to be part of my Art + Science interviews. We spoke via Zoom in March 2020, during the early days of lockdown/social distancing/pandemic and it was an excellent way to launch into a startling and galvanizing stage for North America and far beyond. Conversations like these -- though not broaching head-on the concerns of pandemics and the amazing
As recently as yesterday I retold the story of a professor of the University of Toronto who tried to discredit my research in early 20th century Central European comparative cultural history based on his view that since I was also a dancer, my research was irrelevant as dancers are "automatons who don't think for themselves, but simply do as they are told". I was shocked that in the 21st century I was coming up against this image of the unintelligent dancer. I guess because I so recently retold this story, I am gleefully posting yet another gloriously articulated interview with a fiercely individual, intelligent and rigorous dance artist: Jeanine Durning, the second choreographer involved in the New York/Toronto Project with Toronto Dance Theatre which opens tomorrow night, February 11th at 8pm, at the Winchester Street Theatre. I am so grateful to Jeanine and Joanna (Kotze, whose interview on her portion of the New York/Toronto Project I posted earlier this week