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Features

Danah Rosales and Ceinwen Gobert in rehearsal for Linklater's Sun Force in response to Rita Letendre's retrospective Fire & Light, August, 2017 / Photo courtesy of Art Gallery of Ontario
 

We Speak

By Brandy Leary

Tanya Lukin Linklater is a prolific interdisciplinary dance artist whose work is vast – integrating different approaches and mediums, layering accumulations of liveness, objects and digital/sonic practices to create multi-dimensional offerings. Now based in northern Ontario, Linklater hails from the Native Villages of Afognak and Port Lions in southern Alaska.

A conversation with Linklater is elemental. Like her work, it is complex, layered, curious and generous, collapsing time and space into a present charged with many possibilities. Brandy Leary spoke with Linklater about how she works in gallery spaces - exploring the relationships between bodies, histories, pedagogy and Indigenous languages. “I love conversation as a methodology,” she explains. “I am interested in the ways orality unfolds as a form of Indigenous knowledge production … the ways in which things unfold are not at all the ways they would within a monologue.”

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L’artiste interdisciplinaire prolifique Tanya Lukin Linklater cultive une vaste pratique. Elle intègre différentes approches et médias, et cumule des couches de performances, d’objets et de processus numériques et sonores pour créer des œuvres multidimensionnelles. Établie actuellement dans le nord de l’Ontario, l’artiste vient des villages autochtones Afognak et Port Lions dans le sud de l’Alaska. Converser avec Linklater est élémentaire ; l’échange est complexe, stratifié, curieux et généreux, tout comme ses créations. Le temps et l’espace se fondent dans un présent chargé de possibles. Ici, Brandy Leary parle avec Linklater de son travail dans des galeries – son exploration des relations entre corps, histoires, pédagogies et langues autochtones. « J’adore la conversation comme méthodologie », explique-t- elle, « Je m’intéresse aux différents déploiements de l’oralité dans la production de savoirs indigènes… la façon dont les choses se manifestent ne ressemble en rien à celle du monologue. »

Danah Rosales and Ceinwen Gobert in rehearsal for Linklater’s Sun Force in response to Rita Letendre’s retrospective Fire & Light, August, 2017 / Photo courtesy of Art Gallery of Ontario

 

Inviting Contradiction

By Geneviève Boulet, Erin O'Loughlin, Laura Toma

Gaga is a movement lexicon quickly gaining momentum across Canada. Montréal-based LA TRESSE Collective – Geneviève Boulet, Erin O’Loughlin and Laura Toma – share images of their work together and weigh in on the style’s global influence.

Created by Ohad Naharin, artistic director of the Batsheva Dance Company in Israel, Gaga focuses on total sensation over choreographed form. It helps dancers navigate through the quest of discovering the endless movement possibilities available to their bodies.

The women of LA TRESSE Collective met for the first time during the annual Gaga Intensive in Tel Aviv in the summer of 2012. At that time, Toma was blazing new ground as the first Canadian graduate of the inaugural Gaga Teacher Training Program, becoming the first Canadian to be a certified Gaga teacher.

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Le Gaga est un lexique de mouvement qui gagne en popularité à l’étranger ainsi qu’au Canada. Créé par Ohad Naharin, directeur artistique de la Batsheva Dance Company à Israël, le Gaga préconise la sensation plutôt que la forme chorégraphique. Le danseur y trouve un soutien pour découvrir les possibilités infinies de mouvement qui lui sont disponibles. Établie à Montréal, LA TRESSE Collective est formée par Geneviève Boulet (Montréal), Erin O’Loughlin (Calgary) et Laura Toma (Ottawa). Elles se sont rencontrées pour la première fois lors d’un stage de Gaga à Tel-Aviv à l’été 2012. À l’époque, Toma traçait de nouveaux chemins en devenant la première diplômée canadienne à l’édition inaugurale du programme de formation des enseignants de Gaga, et éventuellement la première Canadienne certifiée pour enseigner la technique.

Geneviève Boulet, Laura Toma and Erin O’Loughlin / Photo by Valérie Boulet

Aly Lovelace and Josh Bonzie in Between the Lines, written and directed by Tonia Sina / Photo courtesy of University of Oklahoma School of Drama
 

Policy Initiatives

By Kallee Lins

In the Canadian performing arts sector, we are witnessing an increased willingness for individuals to bring allegations of harassment and abuse forward. As arts workers, how can we shift our circumstances of employment to make truth-telling easier?

Over and over again, this post-#metoo reality has been referred to as a watershed moment. In the Canadian performing arts sector, we are undoubtedly witnessing an increased willingness for victims to bring allegations forward, but the litmus test for change in our sector will be a wide-spread, concerted move toward preventative measures, safer work environments, and protocols to deal with misconduct allegations in a forum that is isolated from those with the power to hire and fire. As arts workers, how can we shift our circumstances of employment to make truth-telling easier? In this feature Kallee Lins provides a survey of initiatives that address abuse in performing arts communities, outlining how a number of organizations across the country are grappling with investing in dialogue, preventative skills-building and resource-sharing.

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Encore et encore, on signale un tournant important provoqué par le phénomène #moiaussi. Dans le secteur des arts de la scène au Canada, on est témoin d’une volonté accrue que les victimes étayent leurs allégations. Pourtant, l’épreuve décisive pour le changement dans le milieu sera un mouvement généralisé et concerté pour développer des mesures préventives, des environnements de travail plus sécuritaires et des protocoles pour recevoir et traiter les allégations dans un contexte isolé des employeurs. Comment, à titre de travailleurs culturels, pouvons nous modifier nos conditions d’emploi afin de faciliter la vérité et la transparence ? Dans cet article, Kallee Lins propose un survol d’initiatives qui abordent le problème des agressions dans la communauté des arts de la scène, et soulignent les moyens que plusieurs organisations au Canada s’engagent au dialogue, à la formation préventive et au partage de ressources.

Aly Lovelace and Josh Bonzie in Between the Lines, written and directed by Tonia Sina / Photo courtesy of University of Oklahoma School of Drama

Jeanette Kotowich / Photo by Julie Geremia
 

What We Carry

By Alexa Mardon

How does infrastructure support intergenerational exchange? This conversation brings together artists to discuss the issues involved.

The idea of older artists feeling unheard – that the groundwork they’ve done isn’t appreciated by younger artists – seems like one side of a binary, on the other side of which younger artists see their elders as irrelevant, unwilling to be open-minded and unsupportive. Dance artist and writer Alexa Mardon spoke with three artists – Terrill McGuire, Bee Pallomina and Jeanette Kotowich – about their experiences between Vancouver and Toronto, the differing infrastructure between the two cities and how this has supported or hindered intergenerational exchange.

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L’idée que les artistes plus âgés se sentent ignorés, que leur travail de fond n’est pas reconnu par les artistes plus jeunes, se dessine comme une face d’une dynamique binaire ; sur l’autre face, on retrouverait de jeunes artistes qui trouvent leurs ainés sans importance, fermé d’esprit et n’offrant pas de soutien. L’artiste de danse et écrivaine Alexa Mardon anime une discussion avec trois artistes – Terrill McGuire, Bee Pallomina and Jeanette Kotowich – sur leurs expériences entre Vancouver et Toronto, les différentes infrastructures des deux villes et comment ces infrastructures ont soutenu les échanges intergénérationaux ou y ont nui.

Jeanette Kotowich / Photo by Julie Geremia

Departments

Editorial

By Emma Doran

I’ll never forget hearing it: “You’re very unbalanced.” Murmured in my direction during a dance class by a guest teacher, this seemingly innocuous statement stuck with me. Offered without a qualifier, it seemed like not only a critique of my equilibrium but also a judgement of my adolescent mental stability. To me, it’s a small reminder that dance teachers, like all teachers, have an impact on and responsibility toward their students, regardless of their age. 

As media, The Dance Current has been privy to artists relaying their personal stories of abuse within our communities. On a personal level, I have been optimistic with recent initiatives in the Canadian performing arts sector to address this issue. I have also been saddened that it takes highprofile media coverage for survivors of abuse to be taken seriously. In our feature this issue, Kallee Lins provides a survey of initiatives that address abuse in performing arts communities, outlining how a number of organizations across the country are grappling with investing in dialogue, preventative skills-building and resource-sharing. On a somewhat lighter dance-health note, student reporter Katie Zwick has written a report about the highlights from the 2017 Healthy Dancer Canada conference. 

Often our features are influenced by an accumulation of artists bringing similar issues to our attention. I had been hearing frustration from some senior artists that they felt unheard and un-useful to their communities. In response I approached dance artist and writer Alexa Mardon to investigate and she expressed a different culture of intergenerational sharing in her home city of Vancouver. In the piece Terrill Maguire, Bee Pallomina and Jeanette Kotowich weigh in about their experiences between Vancouver and Toronto, the differing infrastructure between the two cities and how this has supported or hindered exchange. 

This issue also features some exciting artists. Our feature artist, Tanya Lukin Linklater, sits down to speak with Brandy Leary about how she works in gallery spaces and explores the relationships between bodies, histories, pedagogies and Indigenous languages. Finally, for our photo essay the members of Montréal-based LA TRESSE Collective, Geneviève Boulet, Erin O’Loughlin and Laura Toma, share with us how Gaga movement lexicon is gaining momentum across Canada. 

I hope that you enjoy the issue and have a wonderful International Dance Day!

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Emma Doran / Photo by John Carvalho

Christoph von Riedemann, Fowler and Peter Smida / Photo by Michael Slobodian

Movers

Intuitive Choices
By Rachel Maddock

Scott Fowler’s sixth season with Ballet BC

Vancouver-born Scott Fowler is already in his sixth season with Ballet BC. At twenty-four years old, he is landing major roles like Mercutio in the company’s Romeo and Juliet.

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Christoph von Riedemann, Fowler and Peter Smida / Photo by Michael Slobodian

Laura Avery, Hayley Rose Gawthrop and Roxanne Nesbitt in McInnes's ree-wahyld / Photo by Sophia Wolfe

Movers

Yielding Mindful Footprints
By Emma Kerson

Kelly McInnes

Read an online Q & A with Kelly McInnes here.

With privilege comes great responsibility. Leading by example is Vancouver-based artist Kelly McInnes, whose socio-political creations, seen across British Columbia, Toronto and parts of Mexico, act as a call to arms.

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Laura Avery, Hayley Rose Gawthrop and Roxanne Nesbitt in McInnes’s ree-wahyld / Photo by Sophia Wolfe

Gillis / Photo by Cylla von Tiedemann

The List

Margie Gillis

Margie Gillis enters her forty-fifth year as a dance artist

Renowned dance artist Margie Gillis almost needs no introduction. Known for her virtuosity, inventive interpretation and iconic long hair, Gillis shares what keeps her inspired.

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Gillis / Photo by Cylla von Tiedemann

Escamillan / Photo by David Cooper

Inspire

Strike A Pose
By Jillian Groening

Keeping vogue communities intergenerational

The influence of vogue and drag culture is everywhere. Thanks to the popularity of television shows such as RuPaul’s Drag Race, glossaries of drag slang riddle the Internet, and death drops and duck walks can be found on stages and dance floors worldwide. But it’s not just vibrant fun drawing devotees to this queer culture movement. The vogue form is intrinsically inclusive and accessible, and its participants share a desire to create safe spaces that exist beyond the limitations of the dance studio or theatre setting. The Dance Current spoke with Ralph Escamillan of Vancouver and Gerard X Reyes of Montréal about how vogue balls are creating inclusive and intergenerational dance communities.

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Escamillan / Photo by David Cooper

Buan assessing active turnout on student Anne-Sophie Marjeram / Photo by Courtnae Bowman

Body

Healthy Turnout, Happy Dancer
By Dr. Blessyl Buan

Turnout is often associated with ballet, but outward rotation of the hip is used in many dance styles such as hip hop, classical Indian, Irish, Ukrainian and forms of African dance.

Hip mobility facilitates the creation of different body shapes; however, there are anatomical limitations specific to each dancer that will affect range of movement. Recognizing ways that dancers compensate for limited turnout can prevent injury.

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Buan assessing active turnout on student Anne-Sophie Marjeram / Photos by Courtnae Bowman

 Photo courtesy of Brousseau

Dancer's Kitchen

Claire's Liquid Gold Body Lotion

Argan oil, dubbed “liquid gold,” is extracted from the kernels of the argan tree, native to Morocco. Rich in fatty acids and vitamin E, the oil has been used for centuries on the hair and skin.

Claire Brousseau’s life has been interlaced with various experiments in movement, dance, gymnastics and circus – mediums she’s been exploring since she was three. She’s currently a performer, aerialist and costume designer in the arts collective Subscura. The group is a consensus-based decision-making collective, and they perform inter-arts storytelling pieces that address meaningful issues that confront themselves, community and society. Brousseau’s enthusiasm is contagious – “I’m so excited to see where my explorations lead me next!” This homemade body lotion is well-loved among Brousseau’s colleagues.

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Photo courtesy of Brousseau

Parson / Photo by Leif Norman

Practice

Fundamentals
By Collette Murray

The directors of Nu-DanCe reimagine dance training

The training and choreographic styles of Ballet Creole and Collective of Black Artists (COBA) are centred from ways of being and knowing that are not readily understood in North America. Two years ago COBA’s co-artistic directors, Charmaine Headley and Bakari I. Lindsay, unified with Ballet Creole’s artistic director, Patrick Parson, to re-examine the impact of their training schools. As experienced artists of colour, they contemplated what their joint legacy offers to younger generations of dancers.

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Parson / Photo by Leif Norman

Tolentino / Photo by Kiku Hawkes

What's in Your Dancebag?

Alvin Erasga Tolentino

Artistic director of Co. ERASGA

Alvin Erasga Tolentino is an Asian-Canadian dance artist who aims to provoke and fascinate audiences through his cross-cultural hybrid dance creations. Tolentino is a regular contributor to Vancouver’s cultural sector. Presently, he is remounting an ensemble creation entitled Collected Traces and Still Here that pays homage to South Asian traditional arts and a Filipino Indigenous fabric – the malong – as part of his year-long residency at the Shadbolt Centre for the Arts in Burnaby, British Columbia. The piece will be performed again April 18th through 21st, travelling to Powell River, Bowen Island and Salt Spring Island.

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Tolentino / Photo by Kiku Hawkes

Janie Richard's Iverno / Photo by Leon House

From Our Archives

Fostering a Desire to Stick Around
By Grace Smith

Newfoundland’s Kittiwake Dance Theatre

Fifteen years ago, for the March 2003 issue, Kristin M. Harris spoke with Linda Rimsay, the founding artistic director of Kittiwake Dance Theatre (KDT), about the then sixteen-year old company. Recently, The Dance Current spoke with Martin Vallée, the current artistic director, about the now thirty-one-year-old company. Things are ramping up but the goal is the same: to find a way to make dancers stick around for longer.

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Janie Richard’s Iverno / Photo by Leon House

Davis Buechner and Hirano / Photo courtesy of Hirano

Backstage

Fluid Tableaus

Combining mime, Noh and kabuki, Vancouver-based dance artist Yayoi Hirano is known for pairing movement with her collection of self-carved Noh-style masks.

On April 12th Hirano will travel to the Freer Gallery in the Smithsonian Museum in Washington, DC, to perform a duet with classical pianist Sara Davis Buechner. The two are frequent collaborators, but it was Buechner who proposed the idea to collaborate on mime-mask accompaniment to French composer Jacques Ibert’s Histories, a set of ten piano miniatures depicting ten unique characters. 

This duet, also called Histories, made its debut at the 2008 Powell Street Festival in Vancouver and has since been performed at the Weill Hall at Carnegie Centre in New York City in 2017. As described by music critic Corinna da Fonseca-Wollheim in The New York Times, while Hirano’s “fluid gestures brought to life the tableaus evoked by Ibert, she also seemed to trap them in a point midway between playful revelation and cool enigma, seeming even to comment on the limits of music’s representational powers.” 

Of the collaboration Hirano comments, “It is very artistically rewarding to work with a pianist of Sara’s calibre,” explaining, “her music has so much colour and images. My body reacts naturally. I just follow these images.” 

For Canadian audiences, the work will be presented in Victoria on May 10th at Wentworth Villa.

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Davis Buechner and Hirano / Photo courtesy of Hirano

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