Collaboration at the Heart: An Interview with Yvonne Ng, tiger princess dance projects

Mixed Repertoire

A DanceWorks Mainstage Event

Yvonne Ng’s tiger princess dance projects

Thurs. Apr 28 through Sat. Apr 30, 8pm at the Enwave Theatre

Tickets: http://www.danceworks.ca

choreographers: Robert Glumbek, Kevin O’Day, Tedd Robinson

performers: Yvonne Ng & Robert Glumbek

interview by Lucy Rupert

Lucy Rupert: You have probably been asked this a lot, but what brought you and Robert together? You’ve danced together over many years.

tiger princess dance projects (photo by Omer Yukseker)

Yvonne Ng: Actually we have never been asked this question.  Robert and I were in Bill James’s Atlas Moves Watching company in 1999.  On a whim, I asked Robert if he might want to work together… and then one thing led to another.

LR: How did you select the choreographers for this program?

YN:  For me, I find these choreographers interesting human beings.  Kevin O’Day had seen us dance in 2004 and wanted to create a duet for us. I love Kevin’s sense of musicality and craft. In the case of this duet, I loved his concept.  I approached Tedd Robinson because I wanted to spend some creative time playing together – with no particular goal in mind – if there was something we’d explore it more, if not…..  Robert and I felt it was time to revisit the duet A Tale Begun, which Robert created and to see where that was at.

LR: An immediate impact your duets have is the sheer physical contrast between you and Robert — how have you used, ignored, manipulated, made irrelevant these differences?

YN: Most of the choreographers don’t really start from there. Sometimes they use the difference. For instance in A Tale Begun, Robert’s inspiration for the work was his new-born daughter, but mostly it’s not even something we discuss. 

LR: How have you worked on your chemistry together? Did you have to work on it or was it immediate and instinctual?

YN: I don’t think chemistry can be worked, it’s there or it isn’t.  Two of the things we share are that we are both classically trained and that we both immigrated to Canada as young adults and these things gave us a commonality which is good because in many other ways we might seem polar opposites?

LR: How have you juggled the creation processes for these works, given that you are both extremely busy artists with many projects on the go?

YN: We try to be organized; sometimes it goes smoothly, sometimes it doesn’t work out. Even with the best of intentions, there will always be screw-ups but at the same time there are opportunities that pop up. For example, Robert and Kevin were going to be in Vancouver in March and the most cost effective thing was for me to fly out there for a week to rehearse, rather than having Kevin fly into Toronto, so I jumped on a cheap plane ticket and bunked in with friends and we put the final polish on the duet.

This interview has been edited for length and content.

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