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September/October 2018

Dance Central A Dance Centre Publication

Aims

Rematriate A conversation with Olivia C. Davies Page 2

Body In Site A conversation with Donna Redlick Page 8


Welcome to Dance Central

Welcome to the September/October 2018 issue of Dance Central. Continuing our series of portraits of indigenous artists, this issue features a conversation with MĂŠtis-Anishnawbe dance artist Olivia C. Davies on her residency at Scotiabank Dance Centre and some of the projects she is currently developing through her company, O.Dela Arts. The 'Thinking Bodies' series continues with a conversation with movement analyst and dance artist Donna Redlick whose project Blood from Stone will be presented at Scotiabank Dance Centre this November. As always, we thank all the artists who have agreed to contribute and we welcome new writing and project ideas at any time, in order to continue to make Dance Central a more vital link to the community. Please send material by e-mail to members@thedancecentre.ca or call us at 604.606.6416. We continue to look forward to the conversation! Andreas Kahre, Editor

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Dance Central September/October 2018

Rematriate Critical Movements A conversation with Olivia C. Davies


AK: I understand that you grew up in Ottawa and Toronto.

OCD: As the term 'Contemporary Indigenous' dance im-

What made you decide to come to Vancouver, and how did

plies, it isn't traditional indigenous dance, in that we aren't

you experience the difference between their social and artistic

working from a framework of movements or songs that

communities?

have been passed down through generations and whose legitimate places might be in longhouse or in ceremony. I

OCD: I landed here as an uninvited guest in 2011, and, after

believe that ‘Contemporary Indigenous’ dance is looking at

having met the dance community, decided in 2012 to stay and

how our indigenous stories can be told through contempo-

to call Vancouver home. The development of my career had

rary mediums and modalities, and looks at the contempo-

pushed me to a point where I was very much looking forward

rary movement vocabulary that has developed through the

to seeing what else the world of dance had to offer, and after

centuries, and then takes it in through that indigenous lens

arriving in Vancouver, I was introduced to Michelle Olson and

of how we are sharing the indigenous body and how we

Starr Muranko of Raven Spirit Dance, where I was invited to

are sharing the indigenous framework through the contem-

really understand what it meant to be a 'Contemporary Indig-

porary dance world.

enous' artist; that this in and of itself was a practice, a legitimate dance form that could be developed and put through the

AK: As I understand it, in traditional indigenous dance the

same rigours as contemporary, ballet and any other form of

sharing of stories is connected to a strict protocol, and

dance. So I was both welcomed into the community here and

can be subject to certain restrictions. I remember work-

encouraged to pursue my professional development, and to

ing, some years ago, with Karen Jamieson and Tsimshian

really hone in on what it meant to develop work through the

storyteller Victor Reece on a performance project based on

‘Contemporary Indigenous’ lens.

a telling of his hereditary version of How Raven Stole the Light, and how contentious his decision to share that with

AK: Can you describe what ‘Contemporary Indigenous’ practice

a non-indigenous audience was. How does ‘Contemporary

is and how it differs from other modes of contemporary dance?

Indigenous’ dance approach the question of protocol?

Dance Central September/October 2018

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Critical Movements A conversation with Olivia C. Davies

I think I have always been really excited about transmitting narrative through the body and that means working in collaboration with writer and poets, taking their words and allowing them to both settle in and then be exposed by the

OCD: There is most definitely protocol as to the ethical use of

human form. That said, I am not looking to move away from

story, especially land-based stories, or stories specific to in-

that, but in my current projects, REMATRIATE and GATE-

dividual communities, and how to integrate that into the cho-

WAYS which will be presented as Med'Cine in the coming

reographic experience or a performance; with my mentors we

weeks, those are works where I specifically put a limitation

often talk about what it means to have a cultural advisor on our

on myself that they would not be story-based, that although

team, someone who can provide us with information about

cultural teachings are encoded in the movement and the

what elements of the story — if we are working with story — can

presentations of the choreography, they are not associated

be shared, how they can be shared, and what elements may be

with specific story or poetry.

meant only for our own research. I feel really lucky to exist in a time and space where the work of people like Mique'l Dangeli

AK: In REMATRIATE, I noticed that you talk about the idea of

is ensuring that different sets of protocols are supported and

an Indigenous feminism. What links it, or sets it apart from

enacted in places like Scotiabank Dance Centre, to ensure that

feminism in a general sense?

we are able to smudge and that territory acknowledgements take place, to ensure that we are presented in a away that is going to

OCD: I became aware of a movement that runs under the

engage audiences in an experience that is not segregated from

umbrella of the REMATRIATE collective and is based in

mainstream theatrical performance, but that there is space to

Vancouver but is actually taking place across BC and across

bring our own cultural protocols into the performance.

Canada; these are Indigenous women who are working to change the image of Indigenous women that is put forth by

AK: Part of your work focuses on ‘Contemporary Indigenous’

the media, and as I became aware of what the REMATRIATE

work, while another is based on community-engaged collabora-

collective were doing, and started to see that word 'rema-

tions in the Downtown Eastside, in a multicultural context. What

triation' in literature, poetry and essays by women like Lee

is the relationship between these?

Maracle, Leanne Simpson and other creative and political writers, who shared the idea that we come from matriarchal

OCD: As a person facilitating the practice, I bring my cultural

societies where women were the knowledge keepers, the

values into the space and encourage others, whoever they are, to

members of the community who decided when we went

feel safe to bring their cultural values into the space. The work-

to war, when we came back to peace, how we would share

shops of Home: Our Way, being a women's circle to explore

amongst our communities. This idea of returning to source

ideas of home through creative writing and creative movement,

through a matriarchal perspective is really what that means

have always been facilitated in cooperation with Rosemary

for me in terms of contemporary Indigenous feminism; look-

Georgeson, a Coast Salish storyteller I have been working with

ing to what our First Nations women have been doing since

for a number of years now, and together we bring a very strong

time immemorial in terms of keeping the family intact, keep-

Indigenous presence into the room that sets the tone for the en-

ing the community intact, and ensuring that lessons, songs,

gagement that takes place.

stories, dances are transmitted from generation to generation.

AK: There is a very strong text component to your practice. Is that something that comes out of your own writing, or mainly out of

AK: Do you think that all audiences can participate in this to

collaboration with other writers?

the same extent, or that different audiences — a white contemporary dance audience, mixed or a First Nations audi-

OCD: I don't consider myself a writer in any sense of the word;

ence have a different degree of access?

my text-based collaborations have always been through the

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inspiration of storytellers like Rosemary Georgeson, or poets

OCD: I want to believe that the stories themselves, as pre-

like Julia Peters, and notably with Carmen Aguirre in the Beyond

sented though the human body, can be accessed by witness

Words collaboration that took place in 2015 at the Chan Centre.

observers regardless of race, creed, or lived experience.

Dance Central September/October 2018


AK: Vancouver could be described as a 'compounded' colonized

AK: I was about to ask about the process of de-colonizing

place, and while at least part of local audiences seem willing

your own body from an imposed form, albeit perhaps a

to expose themselves to a wide range of cultural contexts, it is

'useful' one. For example, an awareness of line is still very

difficult to tell how deep the engagement with these experiences

much evident in the way you move your arms, but at the

actually goes. I am thinking of Lee Su-Feh's and Justine A. Cham-

same time, looking at excerpts from Gidaashi and GATE-

bers' attempts to get audiences to actually talk about their expe-

WAYS, you choose to remain rooted and never break your

riences as opposed to just consuming them. To close the circle

connection to the floor. Do you mix or contrast these

is not an easy thing — here as much as anywhere. Do you have a

approaches deliberately?

sense that you actually get to communicate to an audience? OCD: I am definitely interested in a sense of rootedness; in OCD: I just started to put it to venues and Front of House man-

finding a connection to the floor, and feeling how valu-

agers to ask that their ushers invite audience members to write

able that lower body connection can be. I also think that

something on a comment card as they are leaving. Through most

in terms of physicality we find ourselves moving in ways

recent experiences of sharing Crow's Nest and Other Places

that are most comfortable to us. In my case, it has been

She's Gone at the Lester Centre for the Arts in Prince Rupert,

a process of several years spent working with movement

our intention was to have a talkback immediately following

analysts, yoga and Pilates teachers, physiotherapists and

the performance, and although it took a while to get out from

‘Contemporary Indigenous’ master artists to unravel layers

backstage, when we gathered the people who stuck around

of technical unbalances and re-frame personal physical

were primarily First Nations audience members who experi-

limitations as opportunities to develop deeper kinesthetic

enced heartfelt emotional responses to the work that what was

awareness to movement patterns and flow pathways. I

going to be a traditional talkback turned into a beautiful sharing

seek to strike a balance between the moment of impulse

circle, of people sharing not only their impressions of how the

and choreographic choices that reflect a cinematic ap-

work had moved them but their personal experiences, and some

proach to theatrical presentation. Given the opportunity, I

deeply personal stories were shared in this circle setting. It was

love to engage in meditative movement that brings me in

really beautiful, and I walked away from it knowing that this is

contact with my authentic movement choices, my imagina-

how I look forward to engaging in post-show talkbacks in the fu-

tion, and my blood memory.

ture. We also got a lovely bunch of comment cards to look back on, which gave us valuable feedback that is intrinsic to knowing

AK: What is the relationship between improvisation and

that this work is important and needs to continued to be shared.

choreography in your work? It seems that your training has

I think what I need to do in these next presentations of Med'Cine

been geared toward a career as a 'performer', whereas your

is to invite audience members to informally gather and share in

work in collectives and with O.Dela Arts, your new com-

this way.

pany, is more focused on being a 'choreographer'.

AK: You began your dance training in ballet?

OCD: I have come up against this question through this last year of understanding what my course of action will

OCD: It was ballet/tap from age three to seven, and then I

be with my residency at Scotiabank Dance Centre, and

moved into ballet and modern. I continued, with the intent to

understanding that I will not only be choreographing as

become a ballerina, with the Royal Winnipeg Ballet School,

well as creating a self/solo performance, but also really

which didn't work out because I was too tall by their standards.

investing energy into curating, and what it means to bring

I appreciated that because it moved me into modern dance and

community together in different ways and formats. For

contemporary dance practice, but although by my late teens I

example, I love how Lee Su-Feh has talked about her work

had pretty much given up on the whole ballet dream, I contin-

as “choreographing conversations”, and that is something

ued to teach ballet for a couple of years, and still do when I am

I would like to aspire to do in my career. In many ways, I

asked to, because I still love the lines, and the foundation it gave

skipped the phase of being a 'company dancer', and chose

me in terms of technique and my body — though of course it has

instead to work in collective, where the roles of choreogra-

also given me a lot to de-colonize from.

pher, performer and facilitator are shared among all of us.

Dance Central September/October 2018

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Dance Central The Dance Centre Scotiabank Dance Centre Level 6, 677 Davie Street Vancouver BC V6B 2G6 T 604.606.6400 F 604.606.6401 info@thedancecentre.ca www.thedancecentre.ca Dance Central is published every two months by The Dance Centre for its members and for the dance community. Opinions expressed are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent Dance Central or The Dance Centre. The editor reserves the right to edit for clarity or length, or to meet house requirements. Editor, Art Director & Layout Andreas Kahre Copy Editor Hilary Maxwell Contributors to this issue: Olivia C. Davies, Donna Redlick Photography: Chris Randle (cover),Dayna Szyndrowski (p.2/3,7,15,16/17) Tonya Ng (p.11& back cover, dancer: Alisoun Payne) Rui Nunes (p.9, 11) Dance Centre Board Members Chair Ingrid M. Tsui Vice Chair Josh Martin Secretary Sheila G. Evani Treasurer Annelie Vistica

Critical Movements A conversation with Olivia C. Davies That continues to this day, when I am looking at what it means to curate — not only performance but to curate conversations and experiences and looking at that as an opportunity to bring in people that I want to learn from and that I want to see on stage. With Matriarchs Uprising in June 2019, I look forward to bring together some people that I really love, and share their work on stage and create space for those conversations. AK: The first part of the residency is going to include a performance in December? OCD: CoexisDance will happen on December 22, with a

Directors Layla Casper Carolyn Chan Eve Chang Jai Govinda Megan Halkett Anndraya T. Luui

creation lab opportunity for the presenting artists to de-

Dance Foundation Board Members Chair Linda Blankstein Secretary Anndraya T. Luui Treasurer Samantha Luo Directors Trent Berry, Sasha Morales, Mark Osburn,Janice Wells, Andrea R. Benzel

about the opportunity to bring something that was so

Dance Centre Staff: Executive Director Mirna Zagar Programming Coordinator Raquel Alvaro Marketing Manager Heather Bray Digital Marketing Coordinator Lindsay Curtis Associate Producer Linda Blankstein Venue and Services Administrator Robin Naiman Development Director Sheri Urquhart Lead Technician Chengyan Boon Accountant Elyn Dobbs Member Services and Outreach Coordinator Hilary Maxwell The Dance Centre is BC's primary resource centre for the dance profession and the public. The activities of The Dance Centre are made possible bynumerous individuals. Many thanks to our members, volunteers, community peers, board of directors and the public for your ongoing commitment to dance in BC. Your suggestions and feedback are always welcome. The operations of The Dance Centre are supported by the Canada Council for the Arts, the Province of British Columbia, the BC Arts Council, and the City of Vancouver through the Office of Cultural Affairs.

velop their scores in the week before the performance. Coincidentally, I just received an invitation to CoexisDance Toronto, which is in its 92nd edition. Ours will be the first Western Canada edition, and I am really excited dear to me in my twenties in Toronto as an opportunity to collaborate and create with a number of different instrumentalists, musicians, poets and writers. It was an opportunity to seed ideas, and some of those ideas did develop into deeper explorations and collaborations that I would present at other stages. Bringing this format to Vancouver has been a dream of mine for many years, and it was finally through the residency at Scotiabank Dance Centre that I was able to pitch the project. We got some great responses and are looking through them and will be sharing the names of who the duets will include on The Dance Centre Blog in the next couple of weeks. AK: You work as a solo artist, in collective settings, and in collaboration with different disciplines, with text, in a sited context, in many different combinations. If one were to draw a diagram of the 'ecology' of dance in Vancouver, where would you place yourself? OCD: That's not easy to define. In some ways I am in an outlier position; I am not in the mainstream, however, in my role as board chair of CADA West, I feel I am in a position to really hold the community up and hold up standards for contract negotiations and all the nitty-gritty of arts administration side, as an integral part of what

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Dance Central September/October 2018

continued on page 15


"...I am looking at what it means to curate — not only performance but to curate conversations and experiences, and looking at that as a opportunity to bring in people that I want to learn from and that I want to see on stage." Dance Central September/October 2018

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Dance Central September/October 2018

IN SITE

BODY

Thinking Bodies A Conversation with Donna Redlick


AK: You are in the process of creating a work that will pre-

skilled performer with years of experience but wanted

sented at Scotiabank Dance Centre in late November, based

to know more about the choreographic process, so we

on Blood Alley, and on the fictionalized version of historical

decided we would do an exchange, and she said "I will be

Vancouver that it represents. Why Blood Alley?

part of your research and explore with you, however you want to do this", and I thought 'this is a great opportunity

DR: I started the project five years ago with the notion of

to play', so I kept finding more stories about the alley and

doing something site-specific, and I remembered that when

became intrigued by the notion of conceived history, and

I first moved to Vancouver people had told me about Blood

how that leads me and others to perceive it in the present

Alley, as the place where hangings and executions took place.

now. Then my research became mostly about placing my

I believed the stories, and I believed these were historic

body in the site to engage my senses, journal and witness

cobblestones — I didn’t know that they had only been laid

events— some of which really left an imprint on me. One

down in the seventies —, and every time I walked down the

in particular was a man, who came with all his belongings,

alley I conjured up that history. I thought it was a really color-

took a chain out of his bag, tied it to a fence, and pulled it

ful, vibrant area. At the same time I was getting more inter-

out along the alley. He then he took out a knife and pro-

ested in site-specific work, so I thought I would do something

ceeded to cut the plastic off the chain for an hour, very

site-specific there, and so I went one day to do research, by

determined, he kept pulling and chiseling, and I remember

which I mean that I wanted to sit in the alley for an extended

I didn't understand the reason why, but I was interested

duration to see what would unfold. I was mostly interested

in the rhythm and his relationship to the chain. My hus-

in being in the alley through a sensing experience; I would

band suggested that this was his lifeline, and that he was

sit and close my eyes and listen, write and witness, and I

trying to get at the metal to sell. That for me became the

realized after I had stayed there for three hours that it was all

notion of being as lifeline, and that is where I began. We

wrong, that I couldn't come in there and impose something

all have blood running through us; that is our lifeline. And

on the space. I also realized that even though it was a public

that's when I let go of the idea of a site=specific work, and

space, there was also a lot of private activity; Blood Alley is

thought 'I am going to think of the alley as a site that I want

like a public living room for a lot of people, and it would be

to bring back to the body.'

wrong of me to just come in and use it as a performance space.

AK: You call the work Blood from Stone How did that title come about?

AK: You would be in good company; it has been used time and time again, by theatre companies, by filmmakers, histori-

DR: It started with a working title Embodied Geographies.

cal tours and of course the fictional history haunted Vancou-

and the process began to inform the work, as unknowns

ver tours that go through there.

were getting revealed, and I began to realize that perhaps under this cobblestone there were other stories that need-

DR: It is really animated, it has become an outdoor theatri-

ed to be unearthed from beneath the conceived history.

cal space, and perhaps that is what drew me there in the first place, but at an intuitive level it didn’t feel right to me.

AK: Is there a correlation between what you describe about

At that time I didn't know that the pavement had been laid

this project — the unearthing a story that is obscured by the

down in the 70s and that all these stories were a fabrication,

conceived history — and your work as a Laban Movement

and when I did more digging and reading I was fascinated by

An alyst, working from a notion that our bodies' authentic

the fact that this was a conceived history, and that the way

movements are altered or inscribed by others?

we perceive the alley now, and the activity in the space is still based on this conceived history. That became my real

DR: Yes, what was missing for me in dance was the

interest, and I wondered 'what if I bring this site to the body

movement language that might describe one's own lived

rather than the body to the site?' and have left that as a ques-

experience and one's inner rhythm, which is what drew me

tion. I had one dancer, Alisoun Payne who had approached

to Laban's work. I almost left the field of dance, and look-

me to mentor her in the choreographic process. She is a very

ing back I realize it was because you train in a form, and

Left: Photo by Rui Nunes, "Body as Site"Roundhouse, 2016 Dancers in Photo: Donna Redlick and Mirae Rosner

Dance Central September/October 2018

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Thinking Bodies A Conversation with Donna Redlick

AK: When I looked at some of your previous work, I noticed various interesting avenues toward creating space, drawn from various sources, such as an architectural frame, and a reference to internal space that is created between the mover

spend years mastering it, but something authentic is absent, so when I went back to school for my Laban studies I got excited about it again. I learned a language of movement that could support me to describe my subjective experience. This led me to reinvent my choreographic process. We have these body imprints through our training, patterns and styles that have been laid upon us that we are not even conscious of, and for me it was a process of getting to known my habits and patterns and then making a choice of finding the new, and that got me excited about dance again, and about staying in the field of movement, because now I had a universal language to observe and talk about movement. It wasn't that I abandoned my training, but now I could look at concepts of movement and that gave me more freedom to explore and create, and changed the way I teach and see the world. AK: How does it affect the way you choreograph? DR: I think I used to go into the studio and choreograph from a place of what things looked like, because I care a lot about aesthetics, and how they would be assembled based on what they look like. Now I create work keeping my attention on the sensing experience, the materiality of the body and inner rhythm. I still like aesthetics in movement, but they aren't in the foreground. Now the sensing is in the foreground, but also relationships, because the mover is sensing in a relationship to the world around them. I think the dance is created in the relationships between us and others, the environment, and between objects. It is in the relationship that the dance is happening. So now I think I have figured out a way of how to set up conditions in the choreographic process that invite these relationships. AK: Do your dancers improvise with you, or for you? DR: I have a methodology that has been unfolding, whereby I don't know what the movement is going to look like when I go in, but I have an idea of the relationship I want to set up, and so I give them concepts or ideas, or tasks, and then I let them unearth the movement, and then we shape it together, so it really is a collaborative process.

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Dance Central September/October 2018

and spectator. I am curious about what is a given and what is discovered; for example, in Body as Site, you use measuring devices to imply space. Blood from Stone has both a fixed and an imaginary dimension, and while its source is faux, how does the body enter into it, or how does your interpretation enter into the body? What is fixed and what is fluid? DR: If I am trying to describe how the body encounters something that is fixed, I think of space on many levels. There is the inner bodily space, there is the space just beyond the body boundary which Laban called the kinesphere space, there is the environment, and then there is the imaginary space beyond that is yet to present itself. If we move in relationship to a fixed space, that of course will invite our bodies to shape themselves in relation to it, but I am more interested in how the body becomes space, and how it morphs to create new space. AK: When you speak of taking the site into the body, is it the activity that informs it, the history as a narrative, or is it a physical imposition — I am thinking of Laban's categories of body, effort, shape and space — and is it explored from an interior impulse, or something imposed? DR: I think the whole process is centred on the affect of the space. I think of the site as an entity in itself with texture and rhythm. What happens when you allow your body to meet that affect? What do we experience? So I am talking in terms of affect and materiality that is there now. For example, I went into the alley with my camera to frame things from a microscopic view, noticing texture and very small elements. I saw a very small spot of red on a white wall, which could look like blood but was just paint. I started looking at the markings and textures, and I started to pay attention to the rhythm, so not necessarily the activities — although here were some moments like the man with the chain, but I became more interested in the affect of the space. AK: When you translate this into movement, especially with a group rather than a single body, does their disposition in space become an image of the space, or is that just an internal reference point?


I think the body is a conduit; when we attune to each other through our bodies in relation, there is an intimacy and an understanding that is currently lacking, and increasingly lacking. I care about empathy and attuning to each other through our lived experiences.

Dance Central September/October 2018 Photo by Tonya Ng, “at the place between there and now" Shadbolt Centre for the Arts, 2011, Dancer in Photo: Donna Redlick

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Thinking Bodies A Conversation with Donna Redlick

is never fixed, in the choreographic process you have to fix and order it. I rely a lot on my intuition and on the intuition of

DR: Rather than impose an image on the movers, I will let the image arise through the sensing experience, so I will set up conditions where the movements are in a relationship and guide them to stay with their sensing experience until an image arises, out of the body. Rather than me saying 'I saw this guy and the chain, and the rhythm and determination', and try to replicate it, I will go and try to figure out what it was about that situation and rhythm and relationship to that object, I then set up a situation in the studio (without necessarily telling the dancers). For example, I got yards and yards of a really dense, thick and elastic fabric, and I set up a condition where they were improvising in a relationship with this fabric, based on the notion of it being an umbilical chord, and I gave them a task. Then, witnessing the movement, we would all agree that when something new arose, by which I mean something that didn't come from a habit, we would all agree on that movement, we would return to it and shape it until we understood what was being morphed. So you could say we let the images arise out of the body. What the dancers didn't know was that I was setting up conditions based on history and my research in the alley, and I would sift through that on my own and then take a task to the studio. AK: How do you sort and determine the order? DR: I work very non-linear and multi-dimensional and I think I allow foregrounding and backgrounding. It isn't that I give things up but I will say 'this is foregrounding itself now and I better pay attention to that'. That is where my Laban methodology comes in to support my choices. AK: I remember the amount of time in working with Lola MacLaughlin that we took to find the right order, or sequence of events. Lola often built pieces from very small movements, and we would spend hours and hours trying different sequences, in a process of discovering the poetic links. When they worked, they seemed natural and inevitable, but to discover that took a lot of effort. The way you describe the process suggests a similar situation. How do you determine the order of events? DR: I work very intuitively, but I also think I have a very clear methodology. I will rearrange movement many times, and sometimes I may drive my dancers nuts, but while movement 12

Dance Central September/October 2018

my dancers. I ask them and often their bodies know. AK: In Blood from Stone, will there be architecture on stage? DR: When we were in the creative process three years ago, I rented a theatre to try putting microscopic images on the cyclorama, and I think we will use these images as texture rather than as architecture that creates form. I am interested in textures and colors from the alley to give it context. AK: Do you work with sound? DR: Yes, I have been creating some of my own soundscapes using found sounds and overlaying those. Sourcing the music has been quite a process; I debated and had the desire to work with a composer, but didn’t have the budget, so I have been doing a lot of collage in Apple's GarageBand software, which has been fun. AK: What did you find? DR: I have been working with a lot of soundscapes, such as whispers, wind; I wanted sounds that would almost be startling, or a shock to the nervous system, so I have been looking for sounds from a well, or electrical zings, and I started to work with the dancers, go home, overlay some of these sounds and then take them back to the studio. I am also using some canned music, but the soundscapes and the blending of them is also part of the choreographic process. AK: Perhaps the only authentic aspect of the existing Blood Alley is its soundscape. Do you use it? DR: I never went in to record, but I paid a lot of attention to the sounds. It has an incredible soundscape; there are a lot of sounds of wheels rolling on the cobblestones, and lids closing on garbage cans. I would also hear a lot of whispering underneath the stairwell, cars going by, voices, and all that of course lends itself to the affect of the space. It wasn’t until last week when I saw that they had boarded up the social housing, and they were demolishing it, throwing everything out the window into a big bin, and the sounds that were being created in the bin, the crash and slash sounds were


similar to the sounds I had found and sourced, and right in that moment I quickly turned on my phone to record, and I may weave those sounds in to the soundscape. AK: You are one of only few choreographers who create their own soundscapes, just as few create their own lighting — not because they don’t know what they want, but for reasons I never quite understood. Maybe it is just the habit of delegating, but why aren’t you using somebody else, at least as a kind of avatar. DR: It is interesting because perhaps ten years ago, not having the budget to hire a composer, my husband taught me to use GarageBand. I am drawn to collage work and visual art, and the choreographic process is very collage–like and being able to work with sound that way was another way of doing choreography. AK: What does it means to you to 'rehearse'? DR: I enjoy the rehearsal process more then I enjoy the performance. To rehearse for me means that I am in my most enlivened, embodied state. Rehearse means to unearth the unknown, to stay curious, to ask questions about life, about human relations, and to understand human relations, and ourselves in relationship with others. AK: How do you experience the relationship between 'body work' and 'dance', or between movement analysis and choreography intended for performance? And since the analysis work has no performance goals, how do you get to a sense of completion? DR: I think it is in the interplay between the unconscious and the conscious. When you are in a movement analysis process, either by yourself, or with others in a rehearsal process, it is always a dialogue between the conscious and unconscious, and when you crystalize something in the moment through awareness you can talk about it and share

"Now I create work keeping my attention on the sensing experience, on the materiality of the body and inner rhythm."


Thinking Bodies A Conversation with Donna Redlick

AK: Where do you think a work like this fits into the ecology of dance in Vancouver?

it in an inter–subjective way, it is a movement experience that

DR: I have to admit that I never felt like I fit into dance in

can be described but that is never fixed, and Laban Movement

Vancouver. I have never wanted to call myself a ‘dancer’

Analysis gives me a language to talk about it.

I would call myself a movement researcher before I call myself a dancer.

AK: You quote C.G. Jung on your website, and that made me think of his use of mandalas and images to create signposts

AK: But you have been involved in the community in a

along the way of a process. How much will your audience

number of ways, at the Roundhouse, at the Shadbolt

know about the background for this work? Will they be aware

Centre, and with The Dance Centre.



of Blood Alley and its history? DR: I have a lot of students, and many of them are very DR: I have been thinking about that. I am not sure how much

interested, and many of the clients from my Chinatown

to tell, and whether it really matters. I think in the end it comes

studio are interested, but I don’t want to make work just

down to a universal theme — if it is conceived, and we take

to fit into the dance community. I want a diverse audi-

that and let it act as a mirror to go back into our own ‘shadow

ence. I am very interested in the notion of kinesthetic

self’ — to use Jung’s idea that it is a hidden, darker side of

empathy, and how we come to understand ourselves as

ourselves, maybe the location gives us access or permission to

human beings in a relationship. I have been asking my

tap into that hidden self, or holds a mirror up for us to explore

husband lately: Why do I make dance? Why do I need to

it. We are all multi-dimensional and rarely show all the parts. It

present it? I think the body is a conduit; when we attune

comes back to the concept of foregrounding and background-

to each other through our bodies in relation, there is an

ing, and perhaps Blood Alley is just a vehicle to allow that

intimacy and an understanding that is currently lacking,

process. In fact the movement and the qualities that are getting

and increasingly lacking. I care about empathy and attun-

unearthed in the process surprise me because I would never

ing to each other through our lived experiences. I guess

have foregrounded these had I not had permission through the

this is why I stay in the field of movement and dance.

site. Sometimes I think ‘I would never have chosen that kind or quality of movement if the alley had not been a catalyst.' AK: Do the performers share this conceptual frame? DR: I don’t want them to start with the narrative or something I saw. I want to set conditions for them to discover movement from relationship and only then, when I see a hint, of the feeling, or the history that has been told or that I have witnessed, that’s when we will stop and have a conversation. AK: You are six weeks away from presenting. What will happen between now and then? DR: The piece is shaped on a macroscopic level, and we are now working on transitions and on deepening the embodiment. I am also taking the opportunity to celebrate the fact that I have been working for twenty-five years in the field.

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Dance Central September/October 2018

AK: Thank you!


continued from page 6

Critical Movements A conversation with Olivia C. Davies

it means to be a dance artist. I suppose I weave a bit in and out of the worlds, but I would like to say that I have found a supportive environment within the ‘Contemporary Indigenous’ dance community and the larger dance community and in organizations such as New Works, Presentation House Theatre, and The Dance Centre. AK: Vancouver is sometimes identified with Contact improvisation. Have you steered clear of it? OCD: It has never been something for me, although I love watching it, and I am huge fan of EDAM. AK: How did you plan for the components of the residency? OCD: I had a shopping list of a dozen different projects I wanted to initiate in my one year, and it was with the help from The Dance Centre’s Program Coordinator Raquel Alvaro and Executive Director Mirna Zagar that we pared it down to four substantial projects and opportunities I am really grateful for: the CoexisDance Series on December 22, 2018, time and space to develop Gidaashi for a world premiere at the Vancouver International Dance Festival in March 2019, time and space to run Home: Our Way as a women's circle through the spring with Rosemary Georgeson, and then time and space to host Matriarchs Uprising June 20-22, 2019 AK: I understand you are teaching as well? OCD: Yes, with the Healthy Aging Through the Arts initiative produced by the Parks Board, where lead artists host weekly workshops in community centres throughout Vancouver. I’m at Moberly Arts Centre every Thursday morning with the Moberly Senior Dancers which I co-lead with Anna Kraulis. This is our third year, and it’s a

Dance Central September/October 2018

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"I am definitely interested in a sense of rooteness; in finding a connection to the floor, and feeling how valuable that lower body connection can be."

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Dance Central September/October 2018


fantastic group. Last year I was also teaching at the Shadbolt Centre of the Arts, and when I am invited, I bring Storytelling and Movement workshops to a senior’s care facility home in the Downtown Eastside. AK: What are your plans after this? Is there a longer-term plan with your company O.DELA Arts? OCD: This is the first year since the formation of O.DELA Arts, and we hit the ground running, but for next season I want to really develop a creation/production cycle that allows me to dive deep, just as with GATEWAYS and REMATRIATE. I am hoping to tour GATEWAYS to New Zealand and bring REMATRIATE, Gidaashi and even Crow's Nest and Other Places She's Gone into the wider world while continuing with the Circadia Indigena Arts Collective with Byron Chief Moon and Jerry Longboat. I would love to see CoexisDance continue as a seasonal event. For Matriarchs Uprising, I see this year as a pilot year and am looking forward to bringing ‘Contemporary Indigenous’ artists together from across Canada on a regular basis. AK: The Canada Council has made a commitment to increase its support for indigenous artists. Are you seeing evidence that this is successful? OCD: I think so. I think as a community we are beginning to realize that it is important for our work to be recognized in the mainstream, but that there are also some advantages for that pool to be separate, for example in terms of who our adjudicating peers are. We will have to see what the next elections will bring... AK: Is there anything I haven't asked or that you would like to say to the community? OCD: I am deeply grateful for the opportunities that have been provided to me during my time in Vancouver, and it is with a sense of honour and privilege that I look at the next generation of dancers that are coming up through the education system, community arts programs, and who are developing practices that are developing a really honest and integrated dance community, so when we look at the rest of the world, the conversations that are happening here are really substantial and are really helping to make it a safe place for us to continue our work as dance artists. AK: Thank you!

Dance Central September/October 2018

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Dance Central

September/October 2018

Dance Central September / October 2018  

The Dance Centre Bi-Monthly Publication for Members and the Dance Community.

Dance Central September / October 2018  

The Dance Centre Bi-Monthly Publication for Members and the Dance Community.

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