Interview with Heidi Strauss about elsewhere

 

We spoke with Heidi Strauss about her newest piece elsewhere which will have its world premiere at DanceWorks on Sept 25-27 at the Harbourfront Centre Theatre (formerly the Enwave)

 

What was your impetus to create a show about affect?

I was interested in getting deeper into things I was already exploring in solo work and small groups – intimacy, ways of connecting to take away pretense around performing, to expose oneself to the unknown – in a way, to look at potential, and where you are able to go when you depend on the experiences that have brought you this far. I think “affect” has been at play in most of my work, and maybe now I’m just naming it – beginning to understand what it is. elsewhere, in a metaphorical way, is about many things I believe to be simultaneously important – in the way I think about life, relationships and time, and how I see some of these things as intrinsically connected to the moving body. What are these things? Well, that there is potential in almost everything – even the things that at first seem impossible, or not worthwhile. When I consider the never-to-happen-again moment, which in fact, are almost all moments in our lives, I think of what it is to perform: to understand for brief periods the idea of a ‘heightened now’ but in the most everyday way – a being conscious of all that is happening, knowing so much is also feeding us subconsciously.

“I think “affect” has been at play in most of my work, and maybe now I’m just naming it”

The impetus was never about expounding upon a theory. It was about creating an alternate space where it was possible to expose and reflect on time, on relationships, the place we’re in, what is deeply in us.

 

How has elsewhere been different (in terms of creative process) compared to other work you’ve made?

It has been the longest creation period, in terms both of the actual duration of time with the creative collaborators, and the amount of time it took to make happen. But I wouldn’t say it has been comparatively different from other works. Each work feels part of a larger cycle of understanding or attunement to what speaks, and how to find it (with myself and other people). It’s all part of a larger cycle of understanding one’s process – I think. Working at the Theatre Centre on a new creation while working on the final stages of elsewhere really allowed me to recognize this more fully.

The premiere of the work at DanceWorks on September 25th is the beginning of a new phase of growth (a new process) for the work. In some ways this is the irony of making performance in a room with a bunch of empty chairs; one day there are people in those chairs, and that makes all the difference.

 

What were some of the approaches you used in translating/exploring affect theory into dance?

My intent was never to translate affect theory into movement through a methodology or an approach that was prescribed. I don’t believe a sense of affect would be in evidence if I had chosen or had the ability to do this. I worked with different structures to keep opening the door to changes in the room, to reading the space as it really is, to new sensations in the body, thoughts that intertwine with the experience of the physical interaction with other people and space.

“I asked myself to stop looking for answers”

In the very first process we worked with transposition (of movement structures, and memory-based embodiment) but by the time we met again, I recognized this as a superficial entry point – at least for me. So I asked myself to stop looking for answers; the end point is elusive when you are after potential, or when you look for what is concrete in what can only ever be ephemeral. No surprise that aspects of destabilization and control emerged after that in the work.
Without a doubt, the greatest asset to the exploration has been a group of dancers who are sensitized to each other and who each, individually, carry a breadth of experience that enable them a personal way of being in elsewhere.

 

For more information on DanceWorks and elsewhere visit our website, follow us on Twitter @DanceWorksTO or friend us on Facebook

elsewhere by Heidi Strauss

Toronto artist Heidi Strauss of adelheid dance will open DanceWorks 2014-15 Mainstage Series with the world premiere of elsewhere.

elsewhere is a place where what has happened leave its traces on our bodies, our gestures, the space between us. It is the uncomfortable point where the inevitability of our responses becomes visible; where control, strength and empathy are temporary. elsewhere speaks to resilience in the face of unknowing.

Affect gives you away: the telltale heart; my clammy hands; the note of anger in your voice; the sparkle of glee in their eyes. You may protest your innocence, but we both know, don’t we, that who you really are, or what you really are, is going to be found in the pumping of your blood, the quantity and quality of your perspiration, the breathless anticipation in your throat, the way you can’t stop yourself from grinning, the glassy sheen of your eyes. Affect is the cuckoo in the nest; the fifth columnists out to undermine you; your personal polygraph machine.

– Ben Highmore, in “The Affect Theory Reader”, edited by Melissa Gregg and Gregory J. Seigworth.

 

 

Harbourfront Centre Theatre
Sept 25, Sept 26 & Sept 27, 8pm
adelheid (Toronto)
elsewhere

Choreographer: Heidi Strauss
Performers: Danielle Baskerville, Miriah Brennan, Luke Garwood, Molly Johnson and Brendan Wyatt

Purchase tickets here

DanceWorks’ 2014-15 Student Matinees Announced!

This season, we are thrilled to present five student matinees, with an eclectic collection of dance styles. From contemporary to South African and Kathak dance, DanceWorks will present exciting works from a diverse group of artists. Check out out the full list of matinee performances and dates.

STUDENT MATINEES 2014 – 2015

Elsewhere - Molly Johnson, Brendan Wyatt, Danielle Baskerville, Justine A. Chambers and Luke Garwood

elsewhere (contemporary, 5 dancers)                                                                                              

elsewhere is a piece about what has happened and how it leaves a trace on our bodies, our gestures, and the space between us. It is the uncomfortable point where the inevitability of our responses becomes visible; where control, strength and empathy are temporary. A work for five remarkable dancers, elsewhere speaks to resilience in the face of unknowing.

Here is a sneak peek video teaser (password is ‘download’)

Choreographer: Heidi Strauss / adelheid dance

Date: Friday, September 26, 2014 at 12:30pm

Location: Harbourfront Centre Theatre (formerly Enwave Theatre) 231 Queens Quay West, Toronto

Tickets: $10.00 for students and FREE for teachers.

Contact: Contact Catherine Romano, Education & Outreach Manager, at education@danceworks.ca or call 416-204-1082.

SPECIAL WORKSHOP AVAILABLE! DanceWorks is pleased to offer an in-school Workshop led by Heidi Strauss. The workshop focuses on collaboration and the development of trust between dancers. Improvisational tasks and structures will be used to examine ways to communicate, test boundaries, and enter into pacts together. Students will discover aspects of the creation process involved in the development of elsewhere. (Additional fee applies)

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Untitled

NTU and Skwatta (contemporary / South African dance, 1 dancer)

The unique language and approach to dance making of South African artist Vincent Mantsoe has captivated audiences around the world. With a dance practice that integrates traditional and contemporary forms, Mantsoe’s electric performances, workshops and master classes have left a lasting impression in our community.

Choreographer: Vincent Mantsoe

Date: Friday, January 30, 2015 at 12:30pm

Location: Harbourfront Centre Theatre (formerly Enwave Theatre) 231 Queens Quay West, Toronto

Tickets: $10.00 for students and FREE for teachers.

Contact: Contact Catherine Romano, Education & Outreach Manager, at education@danceworks.ca or call 416-204-1082.

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Sylvain Emard 3

Ce n’est pas la fin du monde / It’s not the end of the world (contemporary, 7 dancers)                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     Renowned for his striking works featuring male dancers, Québec’s award-winning choreographer, Sylvain Émard, plunges seven dancers into the hurly-burly of a contemporary world undergoing massive change. Their only language is movement, the music of bodies electrified by a shared feeling of urgency.

Choreographer: Sylvain Émard

Date: Friday, February 27, 2015 at 12:30pm

Location: Fleck Dance Theatre, 207 Queens Quay West, Toronto

Tickets: $10.00 for students and FREE for teachers.

Contact: Contact Catherine Romano, Education & Outreach Manager, at education@danceworks.ca or call 416-204-1082.

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Forcier Norman Cropped Image 2

Scars Are All The Rage and what goes between (contemporary, 4 dancers)

This double bill features the work of creators Marie France Forcier and Tracey Norman, whose choreography is aesthetically different enough to be complimentary, astutely crafted and rich in compelling imagery. Forcier’s Scars are All the Rage and Norman’s what goes between explore the impact of loss and transformation, promising a balanced program of satisfying new dance works.

Choreographers: Marie France Forcier and Tracey Norman

Date: Friday, March 13, 2015 at 12:30pm

Location: Harbourfront Centre Theatre (formerly Enwave Theatre) 231 Queens Quay West, Toronto

Tickets: $10.00 for students and FREE for teachers.

Contact: Contact Catherine Romano, Education & Outreach Manager, at education@danceworks.ca or call 416-204-1082.

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                                                                                       bageshree BY Levent.Erutku 2                                                                             

Paratopia (Kathak, 1 dancer)

Paratopia is a selection of works exploring the parameters of Kathak dance and Indian classical dance aesthetics in the 21st century. Choreographed by award-winning artist Bageshree Vaze, the works highlight signature qualities of Kathak dance: complex footwork, sparkling pirouettes, intricate facial and hand gestural language, and dynamic movements.

Choreographer: Bageshree Vaze

Date: Friday, April 24, 2015 at 12:30pm

Location: Harbourfront Centre Theatre (formerly Enwave Theatre) 231 Queens Quay West, Toronto

Tickets: $10.00 for students and FREE for teachers.

Contact: Contact Catherine Romano, Education & Outreach Manager, at education@danceworks.ca or call 416-204-1082.

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