Thursday, November 19, 2015
This week I have the most wonderful opportunities to perform a work from Blue Ceiling dance repertoire in two very different places. The first is "Hello World", a concert/performance put together by the TOLOrk (Toronto Laptop Orchestra) at Array Music (tonight, November 19th at 7:30 pm. 155 Walnut Ave, just south of Trinity Bellwoods Park). The second is "After Dark", a fundraiser for Jillian Peever and JD Dance at the Intergalactic Arts Collective space in the Artscape Young Place building on Shaw St. 8:30pm onwards).
I'd like to tell you a little bit about this work.
Lament for Solo Computer.
It is named for the exhausting and gorgeous music by Jascha Narveson.
Sometime in 2008, I think, storyteller/actor Lisa Pijuan-Nomura and I decided we wanted to make a performance work together that would have something to do with ghosts. We asked our friend Jascha Narveson (then a graduate student in music composition at Princeton University) if he had any music that he thought might be relatable to that theme. Jascha sent us a Dropbox full of ideas, one of which was Lament for Solo Computer.
Well, Lisa and I both got pregnant and our co-creation went on the back burner. (Lisa, should we get back on this now?)
But Lament for Solo Computer lingered in my head.
When I approached Jascha about using the music, he said he'd always hoped I would want to use it one day. And he graciously shortened his track by 90 seconds to accommodate the strict 10 min time limit for the epic 2012 Whole Shebang. (It was epic for many reasons, not the least of which was live tattooing in performance).
The theme of that year's Whole Shebang was twinning. There were twin performers, duets, a mirror movement choir of performers and audience. My work was a solo, but my starting points were two: the lamenting computer itself (Jascha's score) and Robert Frost's "The Road Not Taken". I would become a nasty, nihilistic creature who sees, for 9 min and 30 seconds, both roads at once. How would she change?
I was very angry while I made this piece. Just two weeks before I had premiered another solo, a joyful one called Frankenstein Fragments that embodied musicality and quirks and stole gratuitously from former works for the sake of self-mockery and fun. Right after the performances of Frankenstein Fragments I found out that a dear dear friend of mine who was sick, was not only very ill, but actually now dying.
I was so pissed off, I could not summon the love of performing, the drive to create. I was just mad as hell. And I had less than two weeks to make this new piece for the Whole Shebang.
I couldn't get through tech rehearsal but for the grace and loveliness of Andrea Nann (thank you Andrea), I couldn't find my place in the music, my right hamstring was twanging like a strung ham and I was quite sure the audience would think I totally sucked. Totally.
The first step to remounting Lament for Solo Computer was to watch the video. I was surprised when I watched it at how much is really in there. The choreography actually embodied that anger, rather than just me being angry on stage. The dance and the music transcended the circumstances under which it was made. At the end of the piece the applause is loud, there are whoops and cheers. Something was happening.
Here's another wonderful reason for remounting repertoire and why we as artists should be revisiting our works. When encountering the material removed from the emotional landscape in which it was originally made you get to discover what's really there....
Something was there back then and something is there now.
My friend who was dying died less than two weeks after The Whole Shebang 2012. He's in there. The anger is in there. But they don't drive the dance any more, they lie inside the impulses. They colour the muscles and skeleton in motion.
They leave room for something more.
photos by Omer Yukseker
Wednesday, November 4, 2015
Like a great number of people I've been able to interview in the last year, Kate Alton has been a hero, an inspiration, a beautiful puzzle of an artist. She's about to open her first show in a few years in which she is dancing. If you haven't witnessed Kate performing, go now. If you have...well you know what I'm talking about then.
Kate managed to answer a few questions I sent her way in the flurry of both our worlds -- tours ending, homecoming, children, rehearsals, and the million other occupations that demand our time. I am so grateful Kate's usual candidness and eloquence.
Without further ado....Kate, unedited. This interview.
LUCY: What motivated you to make this production happen?
KATE: Honestly it was the unending desire that dancers constantly have, somehow to keep on dancing. My life with two kids is very full. I feel lucky to have had so much time to dance before they came into my world. But I also long to keep that dancing part of myself alive, and for my kids to have a sense of that part of me too.
KATE: Hmmm, great question! You are such an insightful person Lucy. I don't know! Yes, I feel more vulnerable than ever. I cannot really rely on my dance technique anymore. I am not strong and versatile. My tools are age, experience, and I hope, artistry.
KATE: I am still trying to figure out how to dance with it. I think that in this piece I am really dancing THROUGH it whereas I hope over time to figure out how to really dance WITH it. To use the body I have now instead of trying to adjust so I can dance as I did with the body I used to live in. It feels like a process of shedding.
Fri- Sun Nov. 6th-8th and Wed-Sun Nov11th- 15th at 7:30pm
Tickets: $15, Pay-What-You-Can on Sunday Nov 8th
Tuesday, November 3, 2015
I posed the question "what did you learn on the EUNOIA tour?" to all the collaborators involved in the mounting of this work for touring, thinking the answers would offer amazing insight into the value of getting a chance to revisit a work, tour it....something dance and theatre, especially the indie or small-scale companies, don't get to do very often.
My original thought was about the deepening of artistry, the new audiences in new landscapes that take in and give back from fresh perspectives.
I did not anticipate the full spectrum of beauty that would come in their responses.....Read them all, you won't be sorry. (Some have not replied yet and will be added in a later post.)
Thanks team for your intelligent, profound thoughts, as if I could expect any less.
Claudia Moore (performer, freest of spirits, continual source of inspiration, great sharer of chips and wine):
Saturday, October 17, 2015
LR:What do you hope the students will absorb/learn/engage with by seeing it?
Monday, September 28, 2015
Thursday, September 24, 2015
LUCY: Well, you know I've always loved what you do. It's been a pleasure to be of any use. I hope we can finally dance together sometime soon! I remember at first you had a different name for your company, "as the spirit moves". What was the reason for changing the name of your company?
LUCY: What is your dream project?
LUCY: Is there one particular location you’d like to take your company to perform?
LUCY: What do you think dance artists can do to improve the health of the Toronto dance community?
LUCY: Can you tell me about a performance that was game-changing/life-changing/art-changing? Something you were part of as an audience member — who was it, where, when, why was it impactful?
I love when I am sitting in the audience seriously trying to figure out how an artist has come up with their creation. It is very fascinating. I had seen clips of it online before watching it live and even they made me want to go into the studio and start creating something or just start moving in general.
Be inspired by Jasmyn Fyffe Dance
Tuesday September 29th 4:45pm
Fleck Dance Theatre, Harbourfront Centre
admission is free for Toronto dance artists by RSVP to firstname.lastname@example.org
more about Jasmyn's company:
Full Dance TO Showcase performance schedules:
all about Dance TO Showcase
Tuesday, September 22, 2015
I am pissed Justin Trudeau is so bland and ill prepared.
LUCY: Wow. I do that with the toothpaste too. Drives my husband nuts as well. So other than Grease, what keeps you inspired — both to keep creating and to keep dancing?
HARI: An innate, insane, masochistic, obsession/compulsion death-wish striving for my ‘voice’ to be heard. Of course, this struggle doesn’t pay the bills!
LUCY: So the need to have your voice heard, was that the driving motivation to form your own company?
LUCY: What is your dream project?
LUCY: I guess we'll save those for another interview....Down another avenue: what do you think dance artists can do to improve the health of the toronto dance community?
LUCY: Again, wow. Thank you for your honesty and incisiveness. I think some of us are scared to say how we really feel sometimes, but you've shown me that with a good, open heart you can be critical without being cruel in this light.
See inDANCE at Dance TO Showcase performance
Monday September 28th at 6:30 pm
(right after the Cocktail launch party 5-6:30pm)
Harbourfront Centre Theatre (formerly ENWAVE theatre)
all about inDANCE: http://www.indance.ca
full showcase schedule: http://www.dancetoshowcase.com/#!showcase-performances/czy5