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Company 605

As part of their DanceLab, Company 605 is collaborating with filmmaker Brian Johnson to experiment with building movement filtered through a filmic creation process. We asked Co-Artistic Director Josh Martin to tell us about the project, why he wanted to work with film, and how the company has adapted during the pandemic.

How would you describe Company 605?

At this moment, I’d describe the organization as a platform that allows Lisa (Gelley, Co-Artistic Director) and me to invite in and engage other artists and people to explore our curiosities with us. Most of the time we find there are overlaps with others’ curiosities also, which is what really steers the work and the company – exploring simplified propositions through the complexity of multiple combined approaches and creative dialogue.

Tell us about the project you are working on during your DanceLab.

In a nutshell, we wanted to use film and video-editing as a lens and filter to cause a re-learning and re-choreographing of live bodies and material – disrupting a typical movement process. I’ll elaborate much further on the how and why within our (unfortunately online) sharing.

What attracts you to working with film and filmmakers?

As a choreographer I’m drawn to how film and video allow me to play with reorganizing perceptions of motion, time and space in vast and infinite ways, all while sitting alone in a tiny room in front of a laptop. For me, it unlocks a different sense of imagination with a more instantaneous visual tool to guide choreographic fantasy.

Why I want to work with filmmakers is much the same as with any outside collaborator – different perspective, different priorities and values, different skill set. The conversation widens and a dialogue around what we’re doing and what it could become suddenly extends beyond our echo-chamber of dance. Brian Johnson, a filmmaker we’ve worked a lot with, is simply a very smart artist and experimenter. He’s looking to work differently himself, and that seems key to our collaboration.

If you didn’t have a career in dance, what might you be doing? 

I imagine some sort of scientific research. Maybe space-related. I really enjoy the sense that I’m always learning new things in my work, and therefore my work itself has to keep changing as a result. I’m into digging into big unknowns, so long as I feel like small answers are possible.

What might people be surprised to know about you?

I have incredibly poor hand-eye coordination.

How have you adapted your practice during the pandemic?

I don’t know that I have. I just have to work with fewer people at once, for shorter hours, and therefore my sense of time and duration of process has been bent slightly. I feel the relationship between time, capacity and progress (whatever that means) is now much more abstract – maybe this is good.

What is your next project?

We’ve got many things on the go right now, but the next time we get to work with Brian Johnson will be for a new short film series going into production this summer. It’s the most large scale digital project we’ve ever produced, supported by the Canada Council/CBC’s Creation Accelerator program, and so we’re very excited and nervous to have it all now coming together. Stay Tuned!


DanceLab Discussion and Showing: Company 605
Tuesday February 16, 2021 | 4pm PST
Pay what you can: $0/$10

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Photos: Brian Johnson
Supported through The Dance Centre’s DanceLab interdisciplinary research program