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February 2020: Co.ERASGA
Q & A with Artistic Director Alvin Tolentino
HM: Who is Alvin Tolentino in as sentence?
AT: A contemporary dancer and choreographer and an advocate of cross-cultural artistic expressions.
HM: Tell us a bit about your company Co.ERASGA.
AT: Co.ERASGA celebrates a milestone 20 years of dance in 2020 and has served the dance milieu through creations and performances reflecting on cultural identity, gender, hybridity, and we promote cross-cultural collaboration and community engagements.
HM: What was your path to building a career in dance?
AT: Over three decades, my passion and vision for dance as an art expression and communication has allowed me to collaborate and work with distinguished Canadian and international artists. I founded Co.ERASGA in 2000 to develop my artistic voice and to nurture my art practice of dance and choreography.
HM: How would you describe the work you do in three words?
AT: Intentional. Collaborative. Progressive.
HM: What inspires the work you create?
AT: I am inspired by many things and now more than ever, I am drawn to honor indigenous teachings, knowledges and their spiritual relations and respect for the natural world.
HM: Do you have any memories of moments or people that have influenced your artistic trajectory?
AT: Just recently I had an interaction with Filipino indigenous shaman, Mamerto Tindongan. He said, “We are never disconnected with our people and culture. We just need to remember, reconnect and re-align.”
HM: What are the core values of your practice?
AT: Discipline, determination and compassion are core values I hold on to and exercise to unravel the rigor of my art practice.
HM: Do you have any particular ritual that you carry out each day?
AT: Mindfulness with everything I encounter, but this is so much easier said than done.
HM: I am a Dance Centre member because?
AT: I have been a member of the Vancouver dance community for more than three decades and have been affiliated as a member of The Dance Centre over 20 years. The Centre is a catalyst to represent our dance vision globally.
Hilary Maxwell, Member Services Coordinator
Photos: Tracing Malong, Yasuhiro Okada / Colonial, Jim Bonto
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