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12 Minutes Max

12 Minutes Max: Choreography, Creation and Human Connection

Ana Sosa, Dance//Novella, Linda Hayes, and Rachel Helten discuss the works they are developing during the fall edition of 12 Minutes Max, which will be shared at a free studio showing on November 5 at 6pm.

Ana Sosa

The most surprising and challenging thing about working to a 12 minute time limit has been pacing myself. My piece is titled Urgency because the pain that comes with the passing of a close family member is accompanied by the realization that one day I will have to face death myself, and before that day comes I want to make sure that I did my best at getting everything I need to do and say out of the way.

When I feel this anxious urgency, I always forget about the essential fundamentals of composition and I drown myself in choreography, but the topic of my piece is very personal and I’m not necessarily trying to re-invent dance nor introduce myself as an innovator.

I’m trying very hard to express grief as I feel it, in the hopes that I can get close to an audience member and let them understand that grief needs to be expressed just as dramatically as joy is expressed in our surroundings.  It has been hard to remember this and not to fixate on the choreography when it comes to choosing which steps to display with time as the main constraint.

It was an important lesson for me to learn that grief is and will always be a part of everyone’s journey; it’s an inevitable knot in the circle of life and learning how to go through it without shame, guilt, or addiction has been an awakening process.

As I do become more conscious of this truth, I realize it applies to most other things…which makes me feel more conscious of my own power as a human… and this creates an Urgency inside of me that tells me to exercise this power and then I have to tell myself…  “pace yourself Ana Sosa, pace yourself.”

Dance//Novella (Brandon Lee Alley and Racheal Prince)

Our intention for this new work is to research and develop multiple ways of uncovering the fragility of the human connection and how very subtle and almost imperceptible deviations can occur inside of our intimate trajectories without a conscious awareness of change. We hope to dive into the human psyche using ideas surrounding human behaviors and affected choice-making. How would it be possible to illuminate partnerships and sincere relationships while slowly unraveling the audience into movement/music/text that draws from manipulation, corruption, compulsion, a tethering, the endowment effect and loss aversion? How could this produce a sort of coercion effect not only within the fictional world onstage, but something that could influence the thoughts and actions of an audience?

With this opportunity, Dance//Novella aspires to create not just a new dance piece, but something that conflicts with how we normally engage with ourselves and others. This new work will be extremely difficult given the overwhelming amount of research and demanding dialogue behind it, but we believe that an effective piece of work requires viewing our humanity with uncertainty. Are we really in control? Or are other factors determining our lives while we are continuously swept up in confusion from our habitual nature? We can’t wait to see where these ideas lead us!

Linda Hayes

My piece is a creation of Flamenco fusion with contemporary movement, performed with a live percussionist and dancer wearing a bata de cola (long train dress).  The creation is based on a memory of a beloved and will work on exploring methods of expressing various emotions and experiences of that beloved.

Rachel Helten

Together we delve into the meaning of oneness vs. division, be it within ourselves or the world around us and the immense weight of this. To preface the process, we explored the questions: What contributes to a feeling of oneness in our lives? When do we feel isolated from the whole? Are synchronicities a way nature communicates with us? Do we believe we can communicate with one another on a psychic level with those living or deceased? What can this tell us about our connection and the nature of the universe?

We discovered countless shared beliefs in these realms and unearthed how the resonance of this lives within our bodies. The differences we found have deepened our understanding of one another. In the safe space of my courageous collaborators Chelsea Goddard, Sophie Brassard (dance artists), Ben Helten (musician) and Ezequiel Peralta (digital artist), I was able to share personal themes that inspired this work.

My pursuit of wholeness and belonging has often been thwarted by inner distortions and fear. At times, these fear responses have brought me to a state of dissociation and yearning to leave my body. It is my desire to uncover and heal these parts of myself while investigating the nuances of mental disturbances I have experienced or been witness to. Remembering a loved one who has recently passed and those who have gone before us, I return to the question. What keeps us here? Whole and unhindered.

Amidst the chaos of separation, we gather our limbs together and honour our connection to one another. Tenderly, we uncover the signs in nature that remind us of our loved ones. Collecting fragments of personal stories to create a new entity. A prayer. A love letter. Together we move as one, reconciling with the forces that keep us apart and empowering the truth of our unity.


12 Minutes Max Studio Showing

Tuesday November 5, 2019 at 6pm
Scotiabank Dance Centre
Free Admission
More about 12 Minutes Max

Photo Credits: Brandon Lee Alley by Racheal Prince and Ana Sosa by Peter Smida