Vancouver’s 605 Collective Chats With Toronto Students

605 Collective panel 2

605 Collective premiered New Animal, choreographed by Dana Gingras, for Toronto area school students on November 15 at the Enwave Theatre. The work mixed film and movement (along with lemons), and brought applause and gasps of excitement from the young audience.

Former Education and Outreach Manager at DanceWorks, Kate Cornell, led a post-performance chat with the 605 Collective. The group shared insight about their dance beginnings and activities outside of stage rehearsals. From Shay Kuebler’s training in martial arts and capoeira, Lisa Gelley’s love of ballet at five years old and her rock-climbing jaunts, to David Raymond’s childhood tap dancing, and Josh Martin’s admission of video gaming during the off season, the students enthusiastically responded to the 605ers.

Dancer Amber Funk Barton even detailed elements of Dana Gingras’ rehearsal process as a playful mix of task-based improvisations such as exploring how to survive a bear attack or an approach from an anaconda. Ms. Barton went on to declare that her favourite moment in the piece was “chucking lemons”, as it’s a unique opportunity to initiate a food fight in a theatre.

If you missed the show, here is a video clip (just as the lemons meet their demise) and a collection of images from the pre-performance stage warm-up (just before the dancers take on their New Animal personas).

605 Collective warmup1 605 Collective warmup4605 Collective warmup

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Josh Martin on tap, birds, and beer

What is your favourite city to visit on tour?

Josh Martin by David Cooper
Josh Martin by David Cooper

My favourite is whenever I can go somewhere I’ve never been before. I like to explore a bit while traveling. Touring interior/northern BC is always beautiful and a lot of fun. But I also really enjoy performing work in bigger hubs like Toronto, with larger audiences and usually a chance to see some friends and family while visiting.

What style/technique was your first dance lesson? 

I took a tap class first, but soon after my older brother went into a “street jazz” class (with the inclusion of “street” simply being a successful ploy by the studio to get more male dancers enrolled), and I begged my mother to put me in his class. He quit the next year because it was embarrassing dancing with his little brother, but I kept going.

What profession, other than dance artist, would you like to attempt and why?

Ornithologist, because for some reason I have an unexplainable passion for learning about and helping endangered/exotic birds, OR an astronomer of some sort, because I can’t imagine ever being bored in that field.

What do you like to eat before a show? After the show?

Before – Half a club sandwich and a small salad.

After – Beer and Poutine (and whatever was left in the greenroom).

What is New Animal about in five words or less?

Release The Beast.

This interview was edited for length and content.

Shay Kuebler on theatre, karate and curiosity

Shay Kuebler by David Cooper
Shay Kuebler by David Cooper

What style/technique was your first dance lesson? 

At the age of 5, I studied theatre and karate, which would lead to my beginnings in dance. My first dance lesson was in hip-hop. 

What profession, other than dance artist, would you like to attempt and why?

I’m very interested in working in film as well as with music production. From my theatre background, I’d be very interested in working in film in front of and behind the camera, as well as working in theatre as an actor or director. With my current producing and choreographing, I’m also finding a great passion in creating and editing music for stage and performance.

What do you like to eat before a show? After the show?

Depending on the physicality in the work, I tend to eat some fruit, seeds and nuts over the course of the day to keep my energy up. I will then eat some pasta with a vegetable juice or smoothie a couple hours before the performance. Directly after the show I like to get some sugar and protein in my body. I traditionally do some form of vegetable-based protein powder mixed with coconut water. After the immediate protein and sugar boost, I will traditionally eat some animal protein with some starches like potatoes or sweet potatoes. A beer is also a nice way alleviate some of the tension in the body and stimulate circulation.

What is your favourite city to visit on tour?

I especially like touring because we get to visit and spend time in cities, and with communities that are new and unique. This process of discovery and learning about the communities we perform in, along with the development of the connection between the artists and the audience is one of the greatest returns from touring. Although I haven’t performed or toured in this city, my favourite city to tour to would be Tokyo. I’ve always had a great connection to Japanese art forms and disciplines and, from travel and training in Tokyo, I believe that it would be one of the greatest experiences to share work with Japanese audiences and to immerse your artistic practice in Japanese culture.

What is New Animal about in five words or less?

Visceral responsiveness, raw and curious humans.

Ever wonder why it is called the 605 Collective – Lisa Gelley answers the question

Lisa Gelley by David Cooper
Lisa Gelley by David Cooper

What is your favourite city to visit on tour? 

We just got back from performing in New York, and I think that will probably always be up there with my favorite cities to visit on tour. But, I like any city that I’m visiting for the first time. The great thing about touring is getting to discover places you wouldn’t otherwise visit. For example, this tour, we get to perform in Summerside, PEI. I’ve never been to PEI, so I’m really excited about that. 

Why is your company called the 605 Collective? 

Before 605 Collective was a company, we were just a group of peers getting together to train as a form of professional development and an outlet for creative experiments. We met in a work/live studio that Josh and I lived in, and it was Apartment #605. For our first small performance, we were asked what the name of our group was over the phone, and without too much thought, we decided to be 605 Collective, and it stuck. 

What style/technique was your first dance lesson? 

My first lessons were in ballet at the age of 5. 

What profession, other than dance artist, would you like to attempt and why?

If I weren’t a dance artist, I would like to work with other peoples’ bodies in a more human form, ideally an osteopath and naturopath combo. I’m interested in and inspired by the power our bodies have to heal ourselves with guidance from professionals. 

What do you like to eat before a show? After the show?

My ideal pre-show meal is fairly bland and easy to digest. I am a fan of avocado on toast, or a piece of salmon and some greens. After the show, I’ll go for pretty much anything. New Animal in particular is one of those shows that I need to eat right after. Something about the lemons we eat in New Animal gets my digestive system going!

What is New Animal about in five words or less?

Letting your inner animal escape.

This interview has been edited for length and content.

 

with a trace as seen through the lens of Jeremy Mimnagh

The first Mainstage production starting the season off with “wall to wall dance.” Paula Citron of the Globe and Mail wrote of with a trace, “Match three strong performers with three acclaimed choreographers, and the result is an evening of compelling, wall-to-wall dance … There is something very satisfying about dance that is substantive on all levels – physical, intellectual and emotional.”

Photographer Jeremy Mimnagh documented the production: here are some of his stunning photos.

Kate Holden in Brahms Waltzes, Photo by Jeremy Mimnagh
Kate Holden in Brahms Waltzes, Photo by Jeremy Mimnagh
Kate Franklin in Gotta Go Church, photo by Jeremy Mimnagh
Kate Franklin in Gotta Go Church, photo by Jeremy Mimnagh
Kate Holden and Marc Boivin in WOULD, photo by Jeremy Mimnagh
Kate Holden and Marc Boivin in WOULD, photo by Jeremy Mimnagh
Marc Boivin and Kate Holden in WOULD, photo by Jeremy Mimnagh
Marc Boivin and Kate Holden in WOULD, photo by Jeremy Mimnagh
Kate Holden and Marc Boivin in WOULD, photo by Jeremy Mimnagh
Kate Holden and Marc Boivin in WOULD, photo by Jeremy Mimnagh
Marc Boivin and Kate Holden in WOULD, photo by Jeremy Mimnagh
Marc Boivin and Kate Holden in WOULD, photo by Jeremy Mimnagh

Kate Franklin on first things

Kate Franklin where did you meet Kate Holden?

I met Kate Holden at either Breaking Ground or Toronto Dance Theatre’s Spring Workshop in 2001, I can’t remember which one.  I thought to myself “That girl has the most stunning, muscular arms!”

 

Kate Holden and Kate Franklin in North Bay in 2009.
Kate Holden and Kate Franklin in North Bay in 2009.

Why is your company called firstthingsfirst? 

Sometime around 2004, Kate Alton had the brilliant idea for us all to do a show together.  It was decided that Kate Holden and I would try our hand at producing it.  We sat down and started to brainstorm some ideas about what to call our fledgling company. Most of these ideas focused on our shared first name.  But it became clear that even more than a name, what we shared was a set of priorities.  We wanted very badly to create our own ideal dance situations that would challenge and inspire us.  We wanted to create a great working environment for ourselves and for the choreographers and collaborators of our choosing.  To me, “firstthingsfirst” means to set some wonderful, nearly impossible goals and then attain them, one step at a time. Our big dreams came true in 2007 with our first show, “Namesake”, and we have kept working together ever since. 

 

What style/technique was your first dance lesson? 

I took my first dance class at age 4 at Barbara Treleavan’s School of Dancing in North Bay, Ontario.  The technique was ballet. Jazz and tap were hot on its heels. 

 

What profession, other than dance artist, would you like to attempt and why?

I do have another profession other than dance artist.  I am a yoga teacher, working at the best studio in the world, Green Room Yoga in Vancouver’s Hastings Sunrise neighbourhood.  I am very interested in helping people understand and appreciate the ways in which their bodies can move. I would like to help as many people as possible discover that having a movement practice can greatly increase one’s overall happiness.  I think I will be working on this goal for the rest of my life.  

 

Other professions that interest me are ice cream taster and maker of funny videos.  Those are professions, right?

What do you like to eat before a show? What do you like to eat after the show?

It has taken me a long time to figure out the whole eating-before-the-show puzzle.  I wouldn’t even say I have it solved now after over a decade of dancing professionally.  I bring a lot of options with me to the theatre so that I can pick and choose exactly the right food, in the right quantity, in the moment.  After the show sometimes I am hungry, sometimes I am not.  Definitely on opening night an alcoholic beverage is in order!

 

What is with a trace about in five words or less?

In 5 words or less, “with a trace” is about crazy, amazing, beautiful souls working.  (If I do say so myself). 

 

What other DanceWorks Mainstage show will you attend this season?

I won’t be at any other DanceWorks Mainstage shows because I live in Vancouver now (though you might not believe it because I spent a good chunk of time in Ontario this past season).  If I were going to be in Toronto, I would definitely go see 605 Collective.  I haven’t seen much of their work, but have taken a bunch of their classes in Vancouver.  I think they have something special to share. 

 

This interview has been edited for content and length.

First Things with Kate Holden

Kate Holden where did you meet Kate Franklin?

I first remember becoming aware of Kate, and I guess we met, the summer of 2001. It was either during a TDT spring intensive or “Breaking Ground” another great summer intensive that used to happen in TO. She had a shaved head and was awesome!

Molly Johnson, Joshua Van Tassel, Kate Holden and Kate Franklin at dance: made in Canada 2011
Molly Johnson, Joshua Van Tassel, Kate Holden and Kate Franklin at dance: made in Canada 2011

Why is your company called firstthingsfirst? 

We started the company to dance in the work that we wanted to dance in, to be able to prioritize for ourselves, to feel like we could make some artistic choices. We didn’t really know what we were doing in terms of producing a show but knew that we needed to start with the first thing and go from there. 

What style/technique was your first dance lesson? 

I would have been in some great community “movement” classes as a kid. My first real technique classes were Ballet and Creative Movement with Pia Bouman.

What profession, other than dance artist, would you like to attempt and why?

Osteopathy. I am fascinated by how the body functions. I now practice Cranial Sacral Therapy (which is related to Osteopathy) and I really enjoy the listening and movement that is involved. There is a satisfaction that I feel from working with another person’s body and trying to understand it – somewhat similar to working with a dance partner.

What do you like to eat before a show?

What do you like to eat after the show?

I eat fairly well in general. Before a show I prefer to eat a really balanced meal three hours before hand, with a good protein like chicken or fish, brown rice and leafy green vegetables. Afterwards, I’m likely to eat whatever is in front of me and am pretty happy with a plate of nachos.

What is with a trace about in five words or less?

It’s hard and difficult to encompass the nature of three separate works with one title or explanation. But maybe the best way I can say it, today, is it’s about the impact we have on the world around us and it on us.


What other DanceWorks Mainstage show will you attend this season?

I will likely see most of them as I really love to support the work of the community and visiting artists. I won’t see A Soldier’s Tale by Michael Greyeyes, or at least not from the audience perspective, because I’m performing in that work as well.

This interview has been edited for content and length.

A Day in the Life of Curator Mimi Beck

Mimi Beck plays many roles in the dance community.  She is a curator, an executive director, a mentor, a colleague and more.  Mimi’s days are filled with meetings with artists, staff, Board members, partners, funders, and members of the CanDance Network. She participates in sector-wide conference calls, sits on committees and juries, and advocates for dance in many capacities. She spends considerable time writing and editing grant applications so that both DanceWorks and the CanDance Network can keep functioning. She also sees a lot dance, in Toronto and across the country. Then five times a year, all her hard work comes to fruition on the Mainstage.

Here are a few photos of Mimi at work:

Photo by John Lauener, 2007
Photo by John Lauener, 2007
Opening night of "from thine eyes" 2011, Signal Theatre at the Enwave Theatre
Opening night of “from thine eyes” 2011, Signal Theatre at the Enwave Theatre
Mimi Beck and Yvon Soglo (Crazy Smooth), April 2012
Mimi Beck and Yvon Soglo (Crazy Smooth), April 2012