Manga meets Dance: An Interview with Maxine Heppner

My Heart is a Spoon

Maxine Heppner/Across Oceans

A DanceWorks CoWorks presentation

Theatre Centre, 1087 Queen Street West
Friday Jan 20 – Sat. Jan 21, 2012, 7:30 pm
Sun. Jan 22, 2012, 2pm Tickets: 416-538-0988

Interview with Lucy Rupert

Lucy Rupert: What is My Heart is a Spoon all About?
Maxine Heppner: This is the first incarnation of the piece, the first development from a complicated idea – to explore how a young person and an older person each comes to terms with the power of their contained energy, their rage. It’s about dualities. A girl. A man. Black-and-white. Complex colour. Power, and its lack. Explosion. Creation. We’ve been inspired by the graphics of manga novels and that they are the outgrowth of traditional drawing of Japan’s 1600’s.

LR: What do you hope audiences will experience at the performances?

MH: We hope they will become immersed in the worlds we are creating, that they will experience some of what we are working with in rehearsal: the magnetism of bold energy that so easily sucks us in, but then spits us out without any reason. And also the grounded focus that keeps the dancers and images from evaporating. We also hope that because we are presenting a production that is still in creation, that they will share their experience with us about the concepts and challenges of the topics on twitter during the coming weeks, and at the talkbacks afterwards.
LR: How did you assemble your creative team?
MH: Because of the dualities of themes I looked for dualities in the collaborators themselves and between us. Takako Segawa can be so boyish and so womanly but is always pure impulse and feeling. Gerry Trentham transforms amazingly from intellectual to instinctual man. Fujimoto Takayuki, our light and media director who works in high tech theatre design accepted the challenge to explore virtual and actual in performance. Alex Yue designs handmade origami. Sarah Shugarman is creating a sound score that is both acoustic and electronic.

LR: What keeps you inspired and creating after over 30 years creating and performing?

MH: In creation I most enjoy the direct human exchange. Today En Lai Mah (choreo-assistant) and I were trying to sort out imagery with several props.We spent most of four hours wordless, moving objects, marking the dance for the other to see, nodding, shaking heads, laughing, changing things around.These are the golden moments. Inspiration is not controllable. It comes from anywhere unexpectedly; from an intellectual concept, a rush of sound, watching cranes lift parts of a building into place, the way a waiter turns on his feet in a crowded restaurant, birds…

LR: From where does the imagery in My Heart is a Spoon derive?
MH: The powerful drawings of graphic manga novels. The freedom of imagination in old legends. Modern history. Pure energy, pure colour.

This interview has been edited for content and length.

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