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Dance artists Carolina Bergonzoni, Caldonia Walton, Sapiens Sapiens (Lucas Wilson-Bilbro), and Alexa Mardon discuss the work they have been developing during the winter 2019 edition of 12 Minutes Max, with facilitators Josh Martin and Lisa Gelley from Company 605. These works can be seen in a studio showing February 12 at 6pm.
In this process, I am challenging myself to be committed to a practice. I am working on a solo work and I found being in the studio alone very challenging. I have been moving in between improvisation and writing to document my experience and tracking what is coming up in the studio.
Last year, as part of Interplay, I started collaborating with film-maker Joel Salaysay. 12 Minutes Max is providing an opportunity to expand and explore some of these ideas. I am also investigating what it means to collaborate and how – if at all – is it possible to collaborate while challenging me to be alone in the studio.
Through the 12 Minutes Max residency programme, I will be looking to make dance work that reflects themes of decay, discard and doubt in modern society. I will be exploring with four dancers the use of movement, theatre and spoken word to illustrate, comment and examine our systems of waste disposal from trash to people to thoughts. Explorations will delve into how we treat ourselves, other people and our planet, with an aim to show hope amongst challenging circumstances.
This time at The Dance Centre will allow me to gain a deeper understanding on my methodology for creating work and use many tools out of my box to discover how to craft interesting moments and movement. I am particularly keen to explore the use of the breath within the group to create dynamic scenes that move and glide across the space, and then also as an individual to show differences in emotion. Other desires are to find a continuous flow of movement and body and trying to extract this energy from videoed improvisations. References to the plastic planet we are creating but also plastic relationships that have little depth – a dancer partnering another but never looking them in the eye. Synonyms of the word plastic such as flexible, pliable, elastic, shapeable and resilient will allow for interesting stimuli for the body. I am looking forward to learning how to effectively lead improvisations that open the dancers to play and find effective techniques to choreograph group work that uses moments of contact and lifts. Hopefully, I’ll be able to gather bits of rubbish/old clothing/un-recyclables and initiate movement that creates noise with the articles on the floor, comparing trash with people and how easily we may throw things out.
This residency will be a chance for me to discover and play, using new tools and old to generate content and ideas – I’m very excited to see where it could go in the studio!
Lucas Wilson-Bilbro (Sapiens Sapiens)
When we started making this piece, we had a loose idea of what it was going to be. We had a list of elements we wanted to incorporate, but no through line. This was new to us; pieces we’ve previously made started with a through line or motif that images subsequently resulted from. This piece is different; we had images and sound ideas but no structure. We had to contextualize our own ideas in order to move forward.
The more we read through the research materials we had compiled, the more we realized that all the elements fit into a structure that was now becoming apparent, like it was there all along. This is reassuring. Hopefully once we’re in the studio (at this point, all the work has been conceptual rather than physical), we can sort of drag and drop assemble this thing with minimal second guessing; hopefully, we can trust our instincts.
Below is a series of reflections and scores (in bold) that have arisen over the last few weeks of working in studio with Andrea Cownden and occasional visiting artists Lexi Vajda and Bynh Ho. Thank you all for your artistry, patience, time and willingness to dive in with me.
Scatter something with your whole body secretly
In the studio, Andrea and I talk about family. About grief and the unravelling of parents as the mirror image for the unravelling of ourselves. We talk about what we might have inherited, and whether it’s possible for our parents to inherit things from us: movement practices we share with them, little openings into how they might perceive their fast-aging bodies differently.
My Mother was Never in a Band
When I began working on this piece as a solo for myself
I was working on a ritual to shift time and space. To rearrange what I carry in my body so that it might not equal me so fully. So that I might encounter it on my own terms. So that I might call on witnesses for this encounter.
Toss and Groove
And now I am asking those things I was working on to be a container for someone else’s carrying, and perhaps in the future many someone elses’. I wonder about the ethics of asking someone to describe a place in their body as a room, to enter it and to bump around in there with the risk of unearthing something surprising, perhaps menacing. I wonder about staying present while doing this so that each action feels vital. Not precious, but vital. I wonder about Andrea and I surprising ourselves. Ridiculous and terrifying.
12 Minutes Max Studio Showing
Tuesday February 12, 2019 at 6pm
Scotiabank Dance Centre
Photo Credits: Caldonia Walton/Lee Giles; Andrea Cownden/Alexa Mardon; Lucas Bilbro/David Cooper; Carolina Bergonzoni/AdrianO Photography/Voierelia Hub. Dancers Alejandra Miranda Caballero & Carolina Bergonzoni