September 2021: Adelynne Addington
Who is Adelynne Addington in a sentence?
Adelynne – the Rhythm Maker who never stops!
Tell us a bit about your work and practice.
My work involves exploring Percussive Dance by combining the discipline and virtuosity of Irish Dance with the freedom and creativity of Tap Dance, Latin Dance, Body Percussion and more. It’s goal is to create new rhythms, combinations, and movements in order to transcend Styles. At the same time, a key component is to remain true to the traditions and history of the genres that inspire it. Performance is the ultimate goal of any work I develop, with teaching/sharing with other dancers a close second.
How long have you been dancing?
I’ve been dancing since I was 14, a long time indeed. But it makes me a late bloomer as many dancers start at a much earlier age. I grew up in the country and regular travel for dance class was not an option in my childhood. As a compromise, I was able to convince my mother to take me to weekly class right before I turned 15, which meant that after about a year of chauffeuring me around, I would then be able to drive myself! I’ve been dancing ever since and so far, knock on wood, still managing to improve every year.
How does dance fit into your life currently?
Dance is the central driver of my life; it would be safe to say that my life revolves around it!
I continue to train daily as a dancer, performer, and competitor. I am also the choreographer for my own small dance company – Trading Taps – a performance group for percussive dancers from all styles. Unfortunately, some of my time is not spent dancing, which I resignedly suffer through….in order to get back to dancing!
How would you describe dance’s impact on your life?
Dance gives me purpose. In truth, I cannot think of what I would do without it. I have a chronic health condition (nothing contagious!) which causes a lot of pain and inflammation. Dance is the only thing that I love enough that I can wake up every day, face the pain, and push through. The fact that it is an art form that nurtures and soothes the human soul is a huge bonus, as I know that what I work at each day has value for those around me.
What three core values drive your engagement with dance?
I like to think of my work as the “gateway drug” for dance. Rhythm can be catchy, rousing and uplifting and it is my hope that, after watching my choreography, the audience will be captivated and become “hooked”, eager to interact further with the Arts. I strive to remember to keep my work universally engaging, relatable and understandable, so that it will encourage viewers to take the next step with Dance in their own lives. I hope that, by keeping my choreography simple and pure, I will make it addictive, and that loving it will drive the general public to seek out some of the more challenging, nuanced and esoteric dance works which are out there.
The time-honored genres of percussive dance have filled our world with beautiful rhythms. Yet, I have seen so many dancers, myself included, who grew up in one tradition and are then unable to execute movements or beats from another. I believe that we should be able to transcend the separate genres, to become truly well-rounded dancers who can pull from all styles, with limitless expression. This passion drives me to break routine, habit and muscle memory, to be open minded to different movement and rhythm patterns, to be curious, eager and dedicated to learn from dancers of other disciplines.
The term decency covers a lot of ground for me. It means Artistic Integrity – being unwilling to sacrifice the final product for short term gains. It means remaining modest – careful to remember that I have much to learn, that I am still yet a novice. It means being kind and fair towards others and acting honorably. I hope that I train, teach and choreograph with Decency every day that I dance.
Do you have a particular practice that you carry out each day or have you implemented new practices as a way of adapting to the current climate?
To begin my daily routine, I go back to my first dance training – Irish. This involves a training session that includes warm-up with sprints, circuits and dynamic stretching. It moves onto drills, run-throughs, breakdowns of traditional steps. Then stamina training and/or conditioning and flexibility training. With that physical workout complete I can attack the tasks for the day, which range from developing traditional steps or existing routines, exploring new choreography, researching other dance forms or performances, planning or completing projects, teaching privates or classes and then, most dreaded of all (and only if absolutely necessary) – computer work!
What would you say are the most significant benefits for you in being a Dance Centre member?
The MOST significant member benefit for me is having access to studio space to train. My dance style, like so many, requires the maintenance of a certain level of physical fitness and agility, which means almost daily training and practice. This foundation comes before the thought of creation, choreography or performance can even begin. The Dance Centre’s world-class facilities, helpful staff and reasonable studio rates make all the difference in being able to maintain my ability to dance and perform.
A close second is the support the Dance Centre has offered me as an artist. From discounted workshops/photoshoots, to promotion, to OpenStage performance opportunities, they have offered me a lot of support as an independent, working artist in Vancouver.
How have you been spending your time during the COVID-19 pandemic, and what are you most looking forward to doing moving forward?
I’ve been trying to focus on asceticism – working on my physical fitness, nutrition and injury recovery/prevention. Additionally, I’ve developed a lot of new choreography, including working more with percussion.
My fondest hope is that this will all be applicable when we move forward to what I wish for most of all – to be back to performing for live audiences, free of restrictions.
This year, we are celebrating the 20th anniversary of Scotiabank Dance Centre. What impact do you feel the building has had on the dance community, our city, and/or your own practice?
I haven’t been in Vancouver all that long so I’m not the best judge of the Dance Centre’s long-term impact but, if it’s anything like what I’ve seen in the few years I’ve been here, it must be substantial!
I am impressed by how the Dance Centre supports and fosters dancers, dance companies and dance instructors of ALL styles of dance. It is amazing to find that kind of universal support and encouragement and I believe it has done a lot to bring all of Vancouver’s dancers closer together, keeping away cliquishness and exclusion. Our city is fortunate to have a world-class facility serving as a wellspring for Dance. And I personally am very lucky to have the Dance Centre in my practice. It makes all of us richer.
Interested in becoming a Dance Centre Member? Learn more here
Photos courtesy of the artist and by Chris Randle