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Dance artists Maria Avila, Liat Har Lev, Caroline MacCaull & Indigo Porebska-Smith, and Jhoely Triana discuss the works they have been developing during the winter 2021 session of 12 Minutes Max. These works can be seen in an online studio showing on February 24 at 6pm PST.
For 12 Minutes Max I wanted to create a piece within the confines and limitations of the pandemic. Flamenco is typically performed with a group that includes a guitarist, percussionist, singer and dancer. Left in isolation from others, what could be possible? This led me to create my own musical score and explore voice. I found myself changing roles of dancer to singer to percussionist therefore decomposing and reconstructing the elements of flamenco that include jaleos (shouts), hand clapping, voice, arm work, and footwork. Flamenco is strongly based on the unity of these elements performed in a group, however, here I investigated what can happen when these elements are compartmentalized and then reconstructed by a single performer.
My aim was to encapsulate my current reality of being an artist in the COVID era. I choose to wear a mask and limit my space, as many of us are confined or feel isolated. Choreography was generated through feelings of loneliness, appreciation, anger, boredom and repetition.
Liat Har Lev
My choreographic creation is dedicated to the memory of the holocaust victims and survivors. As genocide and atrocity crimes are still occurring and as we are witnessing a global rise of antisemitism, this project has never been so relevant. My challenge is to channel the trauma experienced by the victims and the survivors using body motions, music, and a prop.
Indigo Porebska-Smith & Caroline MacCaull
Our piece Through Threads is centered around our need for physical interaction which is manifested through our use of a rope to connect us. We feel that this work is particularly relevant to us right now as we seek to reconnect with our families, communities, and friends after nearly a year apart. This expression is a direct result of the COVID-19 pandemic, and the boundaries it has placed on the dancing body. During this process we have created the beginnings of a duet that uses COVID-19 restrictions as choreographic guidelines and the impetus for our connection. Our work is timely as it embodies the strain that currently exists for the dancing body, and the passion that persists through trying times.
One of the most challenging aspects of creating this piece for 12 Minutes Max has been generating new material while researching concepts that are new to us. Throughout the process we have tried to tie our research to our initial concept, but the work has taken on a life of its own throughout our rehearsals. An unexpected challenge of this process has been working with different ropes, each have their own texture and length which greatly affect our movement. In the future we hope to collaborate with a textile artist, to create a custom rope for this work. We are looking forward to sharing our initial research with the public in order to receive critique and suggestions, and we are excited to further develop our research.
Perseverancia: Perseverance through all the hardship this past year, many times before, and many generations before. I express the hardship of a somber, sad, tired, lonely, heavy, defeated person who works hard to find resilience, focus, energy, and courage. This is my own story of an ongoing struggle as an artist, of dancing through injury, of isolation and uncertainty due to the COVID-19 pandemic. It is also remembering the stories of my immigrant parents and the hardship of coming to Canada with a little girl and no real plan, just a dream to have a better life. It is the story of my rural grandparents who left their families and went to the city to find a better life with only elementary school education. And because I have chosen to dance flamenco, it is remembering the centuries of ongoing persecution of the Romani people and their enduring strength and determination to keep living. In all these stories before me, I am not only humbled but strengthened to trust that I too will find my own courage.
Wednesday February 24, 2021 | 6pm PST
Free Admission, registration required
Photos: Maria Avila/David Cooper; Liat Har Lev, Indigo Porebska-Smith & Caroline MacCaull, Jholey Triana/The Dance Centre