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February 2024: Kinesis Dance somatheatro
How would you describe Kinesis Dance somatheatro in a sentence?
Kinesis Dance somatheatro is a long-standing contemporary dance company, recognized for its bold theatrical work and innovative community engagement that is now in transition under new artistic direction, with newly appointed Associate Artistic Director Rachel Helten.
What was the artistic path that led you to building the company?
Founder Paras Terezakis has sought to ask questions on the human condition while exploring our limitations, contradictions and emotional impulses. Now, after 35 years, he is handing the company over to a new generation of choreographers in a way that is consistent with his constant desire to reinvent, discover and grow.
What inspires the work the company creates?
Under Paras’ direction, the company has often been drawing from universal themes found in Greek drama and mythology while exploring common everyday actions and relationships.
How would you describe dance’s impact on your life?
Paras: As perhaps the oldest art form, I see dance as primal and instinctual. Movement is the purest form of expression reflecting how we live, communicate and navigate the world around us. As an artist, dance satisfies an inner need to express and reveal our innermost selves.
Rachel: Dance has served as a catalyst for profound growth, transformation, healing, and joy all my life. It is the vehicle through which I explore creative interests, unearth stories within, connect with others, and find release by attending to and making visible what is present within the body, mind, and spirit.
What three core values drive your engagement with dance?
Collaborative Spirit: It is precious to me to be able to work with diverse groups of artists and mediums with the intention to forge meaningful connections, where all voices are heard and respected.
Compassion + Deep listening: Through mindfulness we can be more equipped to traverse our inner and outer realms. Offering compassion and listening to ourselves and others creates the opportunity for deeper understanding and expansion of our creative gifts.
Emancipation + Healing: Reverence for what is alive in the moment, within me and around me. Reconnecting with the wisdom of the body can feel radical in a world that often encourages the bypassing of our boundaries and needs.
What is coming up next for Kinesis Dance somatheatro? Any projects or news you can share with us?
Paras: The artistic path of the company has provided much satisfaction as well as real struggle. Since 1986, I have tried to be authentic and honest in my approach to creation. I don’t think I can ever truly retire as an artist, but I know the time is right to pass the organization on to those who have the energy and inspiration to create something new. I have been fortunate to have people support my work and help realize my projects. I can now help someone else achieve their ambitions while I can still provide some guidance and some wisdom that can only be achieved through experience.
I am grateful for the loving support I have been receiving from Paras, Carline and the generous artists in our community as I transition into the role of associate artistic director and support the evolution of Kinesis. I look forward to continuing nurturing my creativity through collaborations with artists I love and admire while we work towards creating meaningful works that have the power to create a ripple effect of positive change in the world here and abroad. I am passionate about the healing power of art and look forward to engaging with our vibrant global family through workshops, performances, creative exploration, altruistic pursuits and beyond.
This project aims to create a movements-based storytelling piece that embodies femininity, gender identity, and freedom of expression, culminating in outdoor public performances with professional and community artists in Metro Vancouver in 2024.
Bright Shadow merges iconic excerpts from Paras’ extensive works with Rachel’s multidisciplinary research on Utopia and Dystopia, a theme central to Paras for over thirty years. The work will feature dynamic movement, live music, and digital projections.
We also are devising dance workshops and programs to offer youth, adults and seniors for our community a place to nurture their creative expression and foster meaningful connection.
To support our transition and to help decolonize our understanding of leadership Rachel and Carline are grateful to have been given the opportunity to take part in a year-long training through the Pathways program. As we move forward, we deepen our commitment to inclusivity, accessibility, equity, and compassion in the arts.
What would you say are the most significant benefits for you in being a Dance Centre member?
The Dance Centre offers a collaborative environment, serves as a nerve centre for creativity, provides excellent facilities with reasonable rates, fosters a sense of belonging and community, offers a creative sanctuary for shared learning and support, and contributes to a nourishing and inspiring atmosphere, promoting a strong supportive connection among members in the evolving art sphere.
Interested in becoming a Dance Centre Member? Learn more here.
We support the development of dance in BC as a resource centre providing programs and services for dance professionals.
Photos: Rachel Helten, Kami Schuyler, Justin Calvadores & Sarah Hutton/KDS; Paras Terezakis, Alicia Clark & Juan Villegas/KDS.