Josh Martin, co-artistic director of Company 605, tells us about his work as both choreographer and dancer, and the influence of urban dance.
DanceWorks: Vital Few includes a cast of six dancers, including you. Can you talk about the challenges you have experienced as co-choreographer and performer in the piece?
Josh Martin: It is definitely a positive and negative process. There are challenges, like working on a group lift sequence as an essential support for someone, but unable to see what isn’t working. It is frustrating being in the work you are trying to shape, but I also find that I have a lot of information about what a particular section feels like. I wouldn’t have access to this without being embedded in the cast as a performer. I can instantly feel if a direction we give the dancers might be working against our goals for that particular moment. Then, I know how to address the note differently. Something helpful is that most times, we have an apprentice step in while I watch from the outside and we try to work through something.
DanceWorks: In previous works, Company 605 has been influenced by urban dance. Is this the case in Vital Few or are there other movement influences?
Josh Martin: When we talk about 605’s influences from urban dance, we’re really talking about the influences of each of the dancers that make up our group of collaborators. We are drawn to working with people who have a diverse movement vocabulary and who have trained in multiple dance genres. These genres seem to naturally affect our working language and bleed into the company’s work as a whole.
With Vital Few, a piece that relied heavily on the contributions from many different dancers, I see many different influences. A large part of the creative process was considering how the movement of each dancer could exist in conversation with one another, rather than be melded into just one voice.
We are also influenced by music that is more often heard in urban dance. The music can set a different tone to our movement, and that is exciting to us.
Vital Few runs one night in Toronto, on Saturday May 7 at the Fleck Dance Theatre (at Harbourfront Centre). Tickets are available at the Fleck Dance Theatre Box Office. Promo code CULTUREBREAK available to students (of any age!) and anyone under 25 years of age, for $15.00 tickets.
Photo credit: David Cooper