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September 2022: Mateo G. Torres
Who is Mateo G. Torres in a sentence?
A Colombian born, Toronto based multidisciplinary movement artist, interpreter, choreographer, producer, and movement educator.
Tell us a bit about your work and practice.
Movement is my spiritual practice. Through dance, I digest and welcome my experiences of the world around me. As a Latinx immigrant, dance allows me to navigate life in a conscious and generative way. One of my biggest influences is the late Tedd Robinson.
I am developing a movement language that is highly influenced by my Latinx roots. I am also interested in developing a structured improvisational practice; a way of moving that allows personal expression while allowing space to welcome the other.
I am very interested in the way movement can transform us, both individually and in relationship with others.
How long have you been dancing?
21 years now?… wow
How does dance fit into your life currently?
I am constantly in a relationship with dance in more than one way. Currently, I am faculty at the School of Toronto Dance Theatre, Artistic Producer at Compagnie de la Citadelle, and working on a project with the Stratford Festival as an interpreter. Slowly but surely, I am re-igniting my work as an independent choreographer (Stay tuned!)
How would you describe dance’s impact on your life?
I guess the only way I can answer this question is by saying that, for better or for worse, dance is my life. Whenever I distance myself from movement, I also distance myself from myself.
What three core values drive your engagement with dance?
Authenticity: Dance as a true expression of the self
Inclusivity: Dance that welcomes everyone who wants to dance
Consciousness: Dance that understands its power, limits, and environment. That has a conscious relationship with its socio-political circumstances.
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?
I have attempted to make dance a daily practice, but I have learned to understand that allowing a flowing relationship suits me best. Dance and movement happen when they need to happen.
And while I dance wherever I feel like doing it (in the subway, grocery store and more), during the pandemic I have ensured that my home has space for movement (I bought a murphy bed that I can put away!)
What would you say are the most significant benefits for you in being a Dance Centre member?
Last time I was in Vancouver, having access to affordable and beautiful spaces for creation was a blessing. I was going through a difficult time in my life and having the space to process through movement creation was a blessing.
How have you been spending your time during the COVID-19 pandemic, and what are you most looking forward to doing moving forward?
I did a lot of things during the lockdowns: produced a bunch of dance films, did my Pilates training, and managed to remain sane (more or less).
And looking forward, I am trying to do less and allow more. In hindsight, staying busy was a coping mechanism I used to ignore some stuff I should be paying attention to. So, my goal for the future is to flow more… and pick the right current to flow with.
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Photos: Dancers: Katherine Semchuk and Mateo G. Torres/Karen Kaeja; Dancer: Katherine Semchuk/Emilie Trimbee