March 12 -14 | Harbourfront Centre Theatre | 8pm
For tickets: www.danceworks.ca
We spoke with Sylvain Émard about his piece Ce n’est pas la fin du monde (It’s not the end of the world)
Join us for a one night only performance on Saturday Feb 28th at 8pm (followed by a reception and silent auction)
DanceWorks: Ce n’est pas la fin du monde (It’s not the end of the world) showcases male dancers.What inspired you to create a piece performed by only men? Does this work explore gender?
Sylvain Émard: I find working with either an exclusive male or female cast offers a wider range of expression. The audience’s perception is different simply by the fact that the dance is not trapped in a love/seduction mode by seeing men and women sharing the stage. A same sex cast doesn’t exclude that but it is not confined by it.
Without being the main subject of the piece, manhood is certainly an important aspect of it. Because we have in front of us a group of seven men dancing, we, as an audience, watch the dance through a gender point of view. Being a male choreographer, I certainly project myself into the work.
DW: Your website states, “I am trying to develop dance that is anchored in everyday life, without losing its poetry. I want to concentrate on what is at the very heart of life in our society.” What are some of the processes you use in attempting to achieve this? How do you explore the everyday through aesthetic dance vocabulary?
SÉ: It has to do with a state of mind. I am exploring a body language that is in phase with today’s world. More recently, my concerns have more to do with how we as humans survive while facing the world’s drastic transformation. For example, Fragments – Volume I and Ce n’est pas la fin du monde were both based on the notion of urgency. By using urgency as a key motivation for movement it allowed us, the dancers and me, to access the tension I was looking for.
DW: You also state that “each performance is necessarily of the moment. It follows that dance must be constantly renewed.” It seems that immediacy is an important aspect of your work. How do you keep things alive and responsive on stage?
SÉ: Dance is a transitory form of art. It is a living art and I like to take advantage of it by allowing myself to make changes if I feel it will serve the piece. I see those changes like a form of dialogue between the dancers and me. As they perform the piece more and more they also infuse the work with their own sensitivity which make me see the piece differently and stimulates me.
Also, I am aware that my work can be very challenging for the dancers. I am always looking for the right balance between strength and vulnerability. Making changes can also contribute to maintain an appropriate degree of presence and awareness on stage.
Saturday February 28, 2015
January, 2015 –Mark Mann Response #5 to what goes between Rehearsal
Choreographer: Tracey Norman / Interpreters: Jesse Dell, Beth Despres, Brittany Duggan & Sky Fairchild-Waller / Studio 103, Artscape Youngplace, Toronto
The big change between this rehearsal and the last one I attended, of course, was Jesse dancing in place of Marie France. But for me personally, another big change was coming into the rehearsal with a strong feeling of familiarity for the work. I was thinking this morning about how we usually only see a piece once, and so watching a performance is often like meeting a stranger for the first time, sharing an intimate encounter, and then parting again forever.
It’s one of those cliches that thankfully actually happens sometimes: you meet someone at a party or sit beside them on a plane, and suddenly you just connect. You speak your mind, and they do…
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February 28th, 2015 8pm (followed by an audience appreciation reception and silent auction)
Québec’s award-winning choreographer, Sylvain Émard of Sylvain Émard Danse, will bring the critically acclaimed Ce n’est pas la fin du monde (It’s not the end of the world) featuring seven male dancers in a ritual of resistance and adaptation to the passing of time. Driven by doubt and a lust for life, they are searching for their place, sketching the contours of multiple identities. Carried away by their instincts and the power of the group, their only language is subtle, energetic movement, the music of bodies electrified by a shared feeling of urgency. Dance seems to be the best means of coming to terms with the world and of being transformed, the better to blend in.
To purchase tickets, visit: www.danceworks.ca
December 2014 – Mark Mann Response #2 to Scars are All the Rage Rehearsal
Choreographer: Marie France Forcier/ Interpreters: Justine Comfort, Molly Johnson, Louis Laberge-Côté/ Location: hub 14, Toronto
I’m going to wander around a bit here with this response and not worry too much where I step. It’s the only way I know to get in. The funny thing about being a writer, for me, is that I sometimes think I have the least faith in words of anybody. They don’t seem all that needful, or ever really true enough. The body never lies though, right?
My body was wincing at your rehearsal on Monday, and making little sounds of shock and denial, and I think I even put my hand in my mouth. I don’t think it’s too strong to say that this piece is terrifying. I mean: it’s going to fuck people up. I’m glad you’ve decided to go all the…
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Maxine Heppner’s newest dance show OLD STORIES reveals myths shared by a community of storytellers and the private world of a woman living amongst them.
In the ensemble work “Old Story” the audience literally becomes guests at the tables of an extraordinary cast who, through dance, share tales of birth, love, loss, and reunion, and of sustaining energies that are universal. Participate by writing a short story, a very short story (25-250 words) real or imaginary, that encapsulate one of these moments in time for you. Write it as easily as a text message or craft it more carefully if you like.
All ages welcome. All languages welcome. Send to oldstories (at) acrossoceans.org
“At any moment a person lives simultaneously inside one’s own experience, in relationship with the people around, and in context with the public and history. No one is passive. The heart of our living is our moving breathing person; the dance impulses within us are the roots of our stories that branch out to include everyone around us.” – Maxine Heppner
February 5, 6, 7 at 8pm
February 8 at 3pm
Get tickets here: http://oldstories.brownpapertickets.com
We spoke with Vincent Mantsoe about his pieces NTU and Skwatta
DanceWorks: NTU means ‘nothingness’ and Skwatta refers to South Africa’s squatter camps. Why did you choose to express these concepts/states/ideas through dance? How do you understand these two pieces as relating to each other?
Vincent Sekwati Mantsoe: Even though “Nothing” pervades, something always take shape/form, either materialized or spiritually. Both NTU and Skwatta have been created for open dialogues, so I come to believe that both solos are connected either by the states of spirituality, humanity, poverty, pride and so on. NTU is nothing; you as an audience you can create and re-create this path for yourself and see where the path takes you, yet within this Nothingness, the simplicity of nothing, the state of something take shape. In this case Skwatta is the cure fact of how ‘underprivileged’ still live under dyer situations and this is not a unique condition only in South Africa but all over the world. The poor still get even poor and the rich still even richer.
DW: Culture is something embodied; something we understand through being and living. How do you hold and express both traditional and contemporary elements within you and your work?
VSM: Well, It has been a bumpy road, but as long as I stand, walk, talk and can still express different issues or elements through my body, cultural preservation in the 21st century has always been my true ally. I also hold great respect for tradition, African, Asian and western. And living in the 21st century, I try to adapt old traditions, carefully crafted to be on an international arena where individuals can be inspired or simply travel a new path. Bumpy roads are simply obstacle that can be cleared with patience, and being true to your art. Over the years, I have been slowly crafting these elements. Do they fail? Do they work? Yes, they do. But the philosophy in both my work and in me thrives to be honest and be what it is.
DW: How do certain places affect what you create? How does traveling to different places around the world affect the work you do?
VSM: Even though I am based in France, my work is very much rooted in Africa, specifically South Africa. Hence traveling around educates me in learning more of different cultures and how it can or cannot affect where I come from. Human culture/traditions have evolved, that is the nature of things. How it affects me and who I am matters as to how I create my work one way or another.
Welcome to Forcier/Norman: Behind the Scenes!
The Who and the What? While Tracey Norman and Marie France Forcier have been at work this season on what goes between and Scars are All the Rage, their respective pieces for Forcier/Norman, they invited Arts Writer Mark Mann to observe a few of their rehearsals and reflect about his experience. To preserve Mann’s outsider’s perspective, the creative intentions behind Forcier and Norman’s works were not discussed prior to those rehearsals.
The Why? The initiative was launched to create an archive of those two creative processes, but also to demystify “how contemporary choreography is made” for the general public. It is also meant to provide insight to dance artists about how the uninitiated might perceive the creation process.
The Where and the When? On this site, we will periodically share Mann’s written observations following the course of our processes, from late August 2014 until the…
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September, 2014 – Mark Mann Response #2 to Scars are All the Rage Rehearsal
Choreographer: Marie France Forcier / Interpreters: Molly Johnson, Louis Laberge-Côté (Justine Comfort absent) / Location: hub 14 Toronto
I really enjoyed the rehearsal yesterday, especially the tonal shifts between the first dance you guys were working on and the second and third.
It was really interesting to see the action of serendipity: the way you prepared occurrences that you couldn’t anticipate, but only recognize when they appeared. I liked observing how you ushered in the surprise, and the complicity of the dancers in your searching. Their trust.
So much of the work is solving problems, of course. I don’t know the kinds of thoughts that you have when the phrasing presents a dilemma, but it looks like an action of very careful letting go. Releasing the bodies, seeing what they’ll do.
It reminded me of how solutions always…
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Vincent Mantsoe will be returning to Toronto January 29-31, 2015 – for tickets visit www.danceworks.ca
The last time he graced the Toronto stage was a full decade ago!
DanceWorks’ curator Mimi Beck interviewed Vincent as part of the cultural dance dialogs series during his last visit