Episodic Answers from Jordana Deveau, Jesse Dell, and Tracey Norman

What style/technique was your first dance lesson?
Tracey: Jazz
Jordana: Creative movement – obviously.

What music do you listen to?
Tracey: My favourite all-time artist is Hawksley Workman. Also love Hey Rosetta!, Kathleen Edwards, and Arcade Fire. Guess they’re all Canadian, but I love so much music.
Jordana: Every kind you can imagine – with a particular fondness for bluegrass and organic electronic

What profession, other than dance artist, would you like to attempt?
Jordana: Environmental lawyer.  Failing that, I would like to work with the big cats – who wouldn’t want a hug from a tiger?

What is your favourite book?
Tracey: Written on the Body by Jeanette Winterson
Jordana: Le Petit Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry
What is your favourite word?
Jordana: I’m not sure if I have one, but I am a fan of all 7 letter words because they get you more points in Scrabble.

What is your piece about in five words or less?
Tracey: Intersections between ideas, relationships, bodies
Jesse: a woman on the edge

This interview has been edited for content and length. 

A Few of Niki’s Favourite Things: Desiraeda Dance Theatre’s Artistic Director Niki Wozniak

Desiraeda Dance TheatreWhat is your favourite word?  


What do you like to eat on your birthday?

Icing! This year is a big one and I have also requested oysters and chocolate fondue.

What is your favourite book?

That’s a toughy. I love a lot of books:  I Know This Much Is True by Wally Lamb; Coming Through Slaughter by Michael Ondaatje, anything by Margaret Atwood and Jeanette Winterson.

What music do you listen to? 

So many different styles… I love soundtracks by Ennio Morricone and John Powell; Rachmaninov, and a new current favourite is “Knot in my Heart” by the Zolas.

What is your guilty pleasure television show or website? Californication

What style/technique was your first dance lesson? Ballet
What profession, other than dance artist, would you like to attempt?

Writing a novel, event planning, and psychiatrist/therapist

What is Wake of the Fallen about in five words or less? 

Addiction, overcoming traumatic experiences, love


DATES & TIMES: Wednesday, March 27th to Saturday, March 30th, 2013 @ 8PM

TICKET PRICES:  $28 General Admission; $25 Senior & Student Rate (plus applicable taxes and service charges)

VENUE:  Winchester St. Theatre; 80 Winchester St.

BOX OFFICE:  DanceWorks  416 204 1082

ONLINE SALES through Eventbrite: http://wakeofthefallen.eventbrite.com/


This interview has been edited for content and length.

Lucy Rupert’s Reflections on Half Life

What is your favourite word, book and place?


Tropic of Capricorn by Henry Miller, and

Big Sur, California

Lucy Rupert. Image: R. Kelly Clipperton.What do you like to eat on your birthday? A good breakfast with eggs and toast and lots of coffee

What music do you listen to? 

Right now — Macklemore, Radiohead, Fiona Apple, Souljazz Orchestra

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

I did attempt a career in music. But lately I’ve thought translating poetry would be really interesting and probably the most like choreographing and dancing.

What is your guilty pleasure television show? Project Runway

What style/technique was your first dance lesson?  Ballet

What is your favourite charity?

World Wildlife Federation — since I was a little kid. (But of course Myeloma Canada too — close to my heart and with a benefit performance on March 23rd as part of this production!)

What is your piece about in five words or less?

My portion of the program (Half-life): Carbon, nitrogen, helium, hydrogen, oxygen.

This interview has been edited for content. 

Half Life Motel
Presented by Blue Ceiling dance/Lucy Rupert and Flightworks
A DanceWorks CoWorks Series Event
Dancemakers Centre for Creation
Mar. 20-23 2013 @ 8 pm Tickets $18-22 ($18 for CADA, Students, Seniors)
Mar. 23, 2013 @ 2 pm Benefit for Myeloma Canada Foundation Tickets $25

LucyR half life motel

Secrets behind The Heist Project with Belinda McGuire

Belinda McGuireWhat is your favourite word?

Probably “débrouillard” in French – I think I rolled my “r” properly for the first time with this word.

What is your favourite book?

Mother Night by Kurt Vonnegut

Where is your favourite place?

New York City.

What do you like to eat on your birthday?

Lobster and chocolate – in succession, not together.

What music do you listen to? 

I like classical, indie, alternative, tango, some rap and trip-hop. Bossa-nova can almost always hit the spot, and electronic dance is irreplaceable when it comes to endurance workouts.

What is your guilty pleasure television show or website?

My entertainment choices are pretty respectable, and not very many to begin with (I don’t have a TV).  Downton Abbey is getting pretty soapy, so I might eventually feel guilty about watching that… we’ll see how Season Four goes.

What style/technique was your first dance lesson? 

Irish dance – I was five, the steps were too small and complex and I found it frustrating.

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

Secret agent, though I’d probably have to give up my dual citizenship.

What is the Heist Project about in five words or less? (if you don’t count “and” and “through” this is five)
Ambitions, obstacles and resourcefulness exposed through movement.

The Heist Project

Enwave Theatre, 231 Queens Quay W.,
Fri. Mar 8 – Sat. Mar 9, 2013, 8pm

Choreographer(s) – Belinda McGuire, Emio Greco, Sharon Moore, Idan Sharabi
Performer: Belinda McGuire
Composer: Jerome Begin
Costume Designers: Katharine Mallinson, Belinda McGuire

A Harbourfront NextSteps Series Event
For tickets: http://www.harbourfront.on.ca

This interview has been edited for content and length.

Short and Sweet with Marie France Forcier

Forcier Stage Works, Lab Rats
Wed. Jan 9 – Thur. Jan 10, 2013, 8:00 pm
Fri. Jan 11 – Sat. Jan 12, 2013, 7:00 & 9:00 pm
@ HUB 14, 14 Markham St.

For tickets, please call 416-204-1082

What is your favourite word?


What is your favourite book?

Monsieur Malaussène by Daniel Pennac.

Where is your favourite place?

I have many. In Canada, I really like Vancouver. In the United States, I enjoy Austin, Texas. Internationally, I love Prague.

What do you like to eat on your birthday?

I like anything that goes well with Pinot Noir.

If you have pets, where do they like to sleep during the day?

I have a cat, Scarlett. These days, she likes to sleep on the radiator.

What style/technique was your first dance lesson?

Like many, I was three and it was ballet. (It was probably more creative dance than ballet-based.)

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


What is Lab Rats about in five words or less?

Inner world, isolation, coping mechanisms.

This interview has been edited for length and content.

The Dancing Beast – Interview with Jen Robichaud

Larchaud Dance Project presents

A DanceWorks CoWorks Series Event

Elegant Beast

May 30, 31 June 1 & 2, 2012, 8pm

Theatre Passe Muraille, 16 Ryerson Ave


Interview by Lucy Rupert

Lucy Rupert: What is Elegant Beast all about?

Jen Robichaud: On the surface, Elegant Beast is about an accident victim in intensive care, and a relentless, passionate patient of the psych ward with a calling to sculpt protective monsters.   If you dig deeper, the production is an exploration of the fine line between memory, desire, sanity, and the idea that “the world moves for love.”

LR: What do you hope audiences will experience/take away from seeing the show?  

JR: The desire to believe in the infinite depth of one’s soul.

LR: I know that you started with Andrew Davidson’s novel “The Gargoyle” as inspiration; how has this point of departure evolved over the creative process?  

JR: I definitely wouldn’t call Elegant Beast an adaptation. I was planning to investigate if memory of an emotion can ignite unprecedented change and if a soul can hold onto memories through different lifetimes [inspired by the novel’s themes].  Although some of this still resonates in the final work, I think “The Gargoyle” has more so influenced the characters of the show, bringing a new energy to the choreography and execution of movement.

LR: How do you approach the elements of fusion in your work?

JR: I think that the word fusion is a term that is now very popular for describing contemporary dance or for choreographers to use to describe their work, when in essence A LOT of dance has always been fusion.

I choose collaborators that I find inspiring, interesting, and who have something that I am in awe of or that challenges me. This naturally leads to Larchaud Dance Project being comprised of artists who are incredibly different, and both my co-choreographer and myself play off of everyone’s individual talents.  For Elegant Beast we decided to experiment with the aesthetics and energy of krumping because it so easily lends itself to the varying degrees of reality and sanity, and to the idea of “beast” which are all explored in the piece.

LR: Do you consider your work narrative or character-based?

JR: Like many artists, I feel that my work, any work, should communicate something to its audience.   I also think that most work, whether abstract or narrative, asks of both the audience and the performers the temporary acceptance of events or characters that would ordinarily be seen as incredible. We work with dramaturge Brandy Leary to evolve characters and narrative all to support the suspension of this disbelief.

This interview was edited for content and length.

A Key Fascination: an interview with Gail Lotenberg of LINK Dance Foundation

LINK Dance Foundation presents

Experiments – where logic and emotion collide

A DanceWorks CoWorks Series Event

Winchester Street Theatre, 80 Winchester Street

May 25-26, 2012, 8pm

Interview by a very fascinated Lucy Rupert

Lucy Rupert: What is “Experiments – where logic and emotion collide” all about? And how have you integrated the spirit of experiment in the work?

Gail Lotenberg: “Experiments” is about outcomes from a series of experiments. A long time ago I asked myself, what happens when you put scientists who study the non-verbal communication of animals (Behavioural Ecologists), into relationship with artists who study the communicative intricacies of the human body (dancers)? I pulled together a group of collaborators and asked: how could we explore the interactions between our disciplines? “Experiments” presents a number of perspectives on that query, entwined into a single piece.

Each section in the dance revolves around a key fascination or area of achievement of the scientists collaborating on this project. In one section, Dr. Larry Dill views, live, a physical interpretation that hinges on a key discovery from his research career. Then Dr. Dill is given the chance to comment, live, on that artistic construct. Another section reflects the collective perspective of dancers, who have worked with LINK Dance over many years, as we have collaborated with scientists.

A unifying theme of the work is the abstraction that is used commonly by scientists and artists to express our deepest insights. In science, graphs and charts resemble choreographic language. In any graph, what you are looking at is lines in space that are influenced by scale, direction, magnitude and other key factors that impact a phenomenon. These graphs are abstractions of real observations, which are more powerfully communicated through abstraction then words alone. They represent the creative thinking of the scientist who created them.

Compare this to the language of dance, where we create shapes, lines, and images in space, and then manipulate them by scale (i.e. relative size, level, placement in space), and magnitude (i.e. speed, sudden or gradual movement), and force (i.e. smooth, sharp, heavy, or light).

Another key fascination for me in creating “Experiments” is how absolutely breathtaking it is to listen to scientists speak about their work. Their verbal and intellectual articulateness is matched by the physical agility of dancers. To capture the elegance in both disciplines and to find the perfect pairing between text and movement is one of the central modalities of this piece.

LR: What do you hope audiences experience at the show?

GL: What I hope audiences experience in this piece is the passion of scientists and the level of creativity that underlies science. But at the same time, I hope they can pick up a more subtle message about the rigour of dance that captures the essence or truth of phenomena.

LR: How did you find/select/secure the participation of the scientists involved?

GL: How I found the participants in this project is perhaps a bit of a love story. I am married to a scientist. I find his life’s work very inspiring, but I also find the barricades on his free-association to be infuriating to the same degree. By selecting a lineage of his colleagues to work with, I was able to draw on what inspires me about him and distance myself from the details of him. I chose to work with my favorite dancers, ranging from those who are most quixotic and intuitive, to the most rational and theatrical. They wrap me up on all sides of my potential and imperfections. And every time I watch this piece, it is like a ritual marriage reenacted that expresses my love story with Alejandro (Frid). He appears briefly in an early video from this collaboration.

The final member of the group is Dr. Mark Winston, a world-renowned bee ecologist, who is now the Academic Director of the Centre for Dialogue at Simon Fraser University. He is deeply associated with the other scientists through their work as Behavioural Ecologists, but he stood out for me because of his current fascination with dialogue. He observed that what LINK Dance was doing was completely in line with the mandate of the Centre for Dialogue. His support has contributed on many levels to this current project from inception to tour.

LR: What motivates you to connect science and art in making a performance work?

GL: I am motivated to create art from science largely because I live in a world that is deeply wounded and in need of advocacy. In very subtle ways, I try to advocate for better stewardship of the Earth. I want people to see the humanity and passion behind science so they know that it is not practiced in a void of emotion. It is not the stereotype that people sometimes attribute to science: cold, dry disconnected. Actually, it is filled with people who feel wonder and delight at the natural world. Their science is usually driven by a passion to save the earth and other voiceless critters from ridiculously bad management practices by our governments. I want better stewardship of the Earth and if governments heed the perspectives of science, we may have a chance at a healthy future.

This interview has been edited for content and length.

Experiments – where logic and emotion collide excerpt

Interlock – A Conversation with Jasmyn Fyffe

Jasmyn Fyffe Dance presents


a DanceWorks CoWorks Series Event

Winchester St Theatre, 80 Winchester Street

Mar. 14-17, 2012, 8pm

With Choreographers: Jasmyn Fyffe, Karen Kaeja, Kyra Jean Green

and Patrizia Gianforcaro


Interview by Lucy Rupert


Lucy Rupert: What is Interlock all about?

JF: Interlock is a mixed program of six works including three world premieres. There are four choreographers on the program including me. I feel the varied choreography will make the evening dynamic and a great night out.

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

JF: I hope audiences will experience a range of human emotions (and a desire to come and see us again). We want to take the audience on a journey that will leave them wanting more.

LR: How did you select the choreographers included in this program?

JF: Karen Kaeja has been mentoring me for the past two years and I really wanted to commission her as a senior artist in this city. I felt like I could learn a lot from her during this experience. I commissioned Patrizia Gianforcaro because I love her movement style, but I also wanted to commission an emerging choreographer to have a full scope and range of artists in my show.

LR: Since you dance, or have danced in many of your own choreographies, how do you balance your choreographer and your dancer selves in the creative process?

JF: I don’t think about the balance too much. I “just do it” like NIKE. I will say that of late I have tried to step out of my work while I am choreographing. When I step out, I feel my head is a bit less foggy and I am able to create in a much clearer and concise way. But the balancing act is inevitable and I have gotten use to it.

LR: Your company used to be called As the Spirit Moves dance and is now Jasmyn Fyffe Dance — can you speak a little bit about the name change and what it signifies?

JF: I felt the need to associate my name with my company, mostly for marketing purposes. Having a generic name is fine, but I felt that using my name as my company name would increase my visibility. So far, so good.

This interview has been edited for content and length.

Playing with Pop Art: An Interview with Pamela Rasbach

Tomato Soup

Typecast Dance Company 

A DanceWorks CoWorks presentation

Winchester St Theatre

80 Winchester St

Thurs. Jan 26 – Sat. Jan 28, 2012, 8pm

Interview by Lucy Rupert

Lucy Rupert: What is Tomato Soup all about?

Pamela Rasbach: Tomato Soup is a fictional story of a lover, an actress, a robot, and a ringmaster. Throughout their journey we witness each character’s relationship to consumerism and each other. Tomato Soup is inspired by the visual aesthetics of Andy Warhol. 

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

PR: I have experimented with comedy, so I am hoping the audiences will enjoy this cheeky and playful work, which contrasts with my last piece [Missed Connections, 2010]. We are also excited to share a new work of Missy Morris, as part of our new initiative to promote other emerging choreographers.

LR: How did you decide to team up with choreographer Missy Morris?  

PR: Missy has danced with Typecast since its beginning. When she expressed interest in choreographing, she was an obvious choice as our first guest choreographer. We wanted the company to collaborate with someone we knew well and trusted. We hope to include other emerging choreographers in future productions.

LR: How have you translated Pop Art into contemporary dance? What was your creative process (internal or with dancers) to explore this theme?

PR: Pop Art was used as visual inspiration to convey the theme of consumerism. Pop Art’s obsession with the object is explored as the dancers interact with each object on stage. There is also an element of chance in this piece, as the artists never dance with the same product twice!

LR: What do you dream next for Typecast Dance Company?

PR: We hope to continue to produce works that showcase the power and passion of young artists, and would love to give second life to our works by touring.  Mostly importantly, we would like to continue having fun and sharing our love of dance with new audiences.


This interview has been edited for length and content.

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.