Out Innerspace Dance Theatre co-directors, and Dance Centre Artists-in-Residence, David Raymond and Tiffany Tregarthen sat down to discuss dance, their very busy schedule, and their new work Bygones, coming up December 11-14.
What brought you to dance?
For us, dancing unlocks our creative intelligence. Moving is the best way for us to understand and discover a plasticity of spirit, intellect and instinct. Both making and dancing reveals and softens a sort of cosmic connective tissue between ourselves and other people, the past, the unknown and science. Because of dance, we feel less compelled and pressured to have an identity and communicate who we are and instead feel the privilege and opportunity to explore and to let ideas move and transform through and around us.
What inspired the creation of Bygones?
We are especially moved by the reflex to want to make things better, the attempts to want to pick up the pieces, try again, resolve or just keep going. These heroic, messy and bizarre attempts are some of the most profound dances we’ve seen and experienced. There is a lot of change happening and also a lot of change that isn’t happening yet and this reflex to want to fix things seems so vital to both survive and provoke change. We have been exploring domestic objects as psychic tuning instruments and darkness and light as thresholds. We are interested in the pact between creation and destruction and used this as a sort of universal code and truth serum for the work. The saying related to the title “let bygones be bygones” was a way for us to also consider how allowing things to be, however terrible or unwanted they might be in the moment, is a thing to celebrate.
What do you look for when casting dancers and performers?
We look for plasticity; physical and psychological shape shifters with the ability to transform what is sourcing movement and how. Our process needs the tenacity to develop new approaches and a willingness to use play, be self-directed and make mistakes. We look for dance artists who are rebellious and intimate movers, who want to share their opinions, who don’t have rules for how they are supposed to move or what a dance must be. We also need people willing to live in the mystery that comes with abstract ideas, who allow everyone including themselves to have a process and not have to be an expert all the time, and who are going to go boldly into the strangeness, tedious and sometimes awkward parts of our process.
Tell us about the mask in Bygones.
Lyle Reimer (LyleXOX) is an incredible mixed media artist whose repurposing of discarded and broken objects is a salute to renewal, evolution and challenging identity. Lyle collaborated with us to make a character who embodies a creative force willing to give new life to things that have been left behind; a chimera, a scavenger, and a patron saint of picking up the pieces. It appears in the work as a sort of epiphany with a calling to repurpose what is unresolved or lost and set into motion the necessity for the performers to come together. Its goal to make something beautiful out of what was difficult serves as a counter character to a destructive force in the work.
In addition to creating and performing with OIS, you both perform with Kidd Pivot around the world, and run the pre-professional training program Modus Operandi in Vancouver. How do you balance these diverse demands as artists?
It certainly helps that things evolved and intertwined slowly over time and that we aren’t alone. We trust that creating, performing, teaching, and learning belong together. Changing roles and teams helps us sustain our stamina, reflect and replenish our resources. We have a phenomenal group of people who help us including Martin Alldred, Kate Franklin, Anne Daroussin, Brent Belsher, New Works and numerous accomplished dance artists who lead MO. The companies we work with are endlessly inspiring and have been very generous with scheduling. Our OIS tech/design team is fluid and resourceful. Our students are a steadfast source of momentum and hope that directs and develops us. Our families and friends are patient and wholehearted.
The Dance Centre presents the Global Dance Connections series
Out Innerspace Dance Theatre: Bygones
Wednesday-Saturday December 11-14, 2019 | 8pm
Scotiabank Dance Centre
Supported through the Artist-in-Residence program
Photos: Alistair Maitland and David Raymond