Brodie Stevenson, dancer and member of Throwdown Collective, found his way from the central coast of BC to Toronto via an interest in contact improvisation. Here, he tells us about his childhood, current challenges of being a dancer, and a Dora victory.
DANCEWORKS: Can you tell us about your home town of Wuikinuxv? How did you make your way to Toronto?
BRODIE: Wuikinuxv (pronounced Oweekeno) is a small First Nations Reserve in Rivers Inlet on the central coast of BC. I was born there and lived there until I was around eight or nine years old. My parents moved a fair bit when I was a child, including to Ireland for three years, but I went to high school in Port McNeill on the northern tip of Vancouver Island. After studying acting and theatre for four years I took a break from school and discovered dance through Contact Improvisation. From there, I ended up applying to The School of Toronto Dance Theatre and moving to Toronto.
DANCEWORKS: As a dancer (and/or choreographer), what have you found most challenging, recently?
BRODIE: As a dancer and choreographer, I am regularly challenged by the attentiveness it takes to find balance in my artistic life. The perpetual struggle to remain invested and vital in an artistic practice that often does not provide a means of living is a constant challenge. The tension between devoting time for the practice and creation of art, and the reality that I must always find other jobs to make a living is a continual balancing act. The success of which is always in flux.
BRODIE: Various Concert came out of a desire to continue refining our method of collaborative creation in the context of creating a dance for the stage. Each member of the collective brought physical propositions into the studio and we began experimenting, refining, and improvising.
The piece came directly out of our collaborative methodology that we refined as we created the material. That is to say, that our way of working developed at the same time as the physical material, and that both process and content are equally valued.
The title Various Concert reflects one of our main working hypotheses – how do we move together and still leave room for individual choice and movement? The piece is one answer to the question, ‘Can we cultivate a unison of intention that allows us to move in concert, together, without dictating the exact steps and timing of the movement?’
DANCEWORKS: Throwdown Collective is also co-producing Ylem (3 Eggs Ago) with Lina Cruz, Fila 13 Productions. Lina has included the use of props in the work. So, dancing with eggs, fun or stressful?
BRODIE: We had a lot of fun playing with the eggs when we first started our rehearsal process – finding new things we could do and ways to use the eggs. However, working with the eggs can be frustrating as they can be unforgiving, crack, and break easily if we are not exact in executing the choreography. I suspect that the care and attention we have towards the eggs when dancing with them, is part of the larger metaphor of the piece.
DANCEWORKS: Thank you, Brodie.
DanceWorks presents Throwdown Collective at the Harbourfront Centre Theatre on February 9-11 at 8pm. Click here to purchase tickets.
Photo by Jeremy Mimnagh