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November 2020: Calder White
Can you tell us a bit about your work and practice?
My work centers on storytelling, memory-making, and the effects of video documentation on the dancer’s self-image. I enjoy sharing my work outside of traditional theatre settings for the proximity and intimacy to the audience this offers. My practice is pretty fluid. In normal times, I teach contemporary floorwork and so I enjoy puzzling out new pathways into and out of the floor. I’m also an avid class-taker and so my practice shifts depending on what’s available around me. Lately, this has meant a lot of at-home Cunningham and improvisation, and floorwork when I can find the space to do it!
How long have you been dancing?
I’ve been dancing since the age of six, coming up through a competition studio world before finding contemporary dance in my early teenage years.
How does dance fit into your life currently?
It’s catching me by surprise a lot these days. I don’t think I’m unique in my feelings of sadness surrounding the pandemic or longing for the way things were before, and truthfully there are days that feel very aimless, days that I don’t feel like dancing is important or useful. I’m trying to combat those feelings by reminding myself of all the things that dance can be — one of the most important being therapy. There’s always a point after a couple days of no dance where a song will come on shuffle and I just won’t be able to hold in the movement and before I know it, an hour or two of nonstop dancing has passed. Those days remind me why I do what I do.
How are you balancing your time between Ottawa and Vancouver during the COVID pandemic?
Carefully! Sometimes impulsively. I think I thrive on being busy, and yet routine can feel very stifling, so I’ve been spending a couple months at a time in each place to reset and give myself a change of scenery. I’ve been staying malleable enough with travel plans to allow for spontaneous dance work that has popped up here and there and I’m just trying to balance what each city can offer me at the present moment (and vice versa).
What are three core values that drive your engagement with dance?
A constant curiosity, a continuous involvement with the community I’m a part of (viewing dance, taking class, keeping up with contemporaries), and a commitment to sharing what we’re doing with “non-dance” people to stay transparent and grounded.
What would you say are the most significant benefits for you in being a Dance Centre member?
Absolutely the studio rental discounts and the opportunities for choreographic residencies. Dedicated time in-studio is invaluable to me and fosters the perfect environment for new ideas to emerge and old ideas to be dived deeply into. My living room just doesn’t even come close to producing the same results.
Interested in becoming a Dance Centre Member? Learn more here
Photos: Steve Chabala and Erwan Tarlet