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Dance artist and choreographer Rachel Meyer will be showing excerpts of her work in progress, Mama do we die when we sleep? in our upcoming Studio Showing streaming June 29 – July 6. We sat down (virtually) with her to ask about her dance career, the inspiration behind her DanceLab research project and how she has adapted during the pandemic.
Tell us about your dance career to date.
My professional dance experience began as a guest artist with Aspen Santa Fe Ballet and as a member of the Utah Regional Ballet while attending the University of Utah. After receiving my
BFA and training at the San Francisco Conservatory of Dance, I shifted my focus towards contemporary ballet and became a company member of Dominic Walsh Dance Theatre in
Houston. I was awarded a Princess Grace Award in 2010. Later, I joined the Michael Clark Company for a project at the Tate Modern and then moved to Vancouver to dance with Ballet
BC. In my 6 seasons with the company, I had the opportunity to be an active collaborator in many new creations with renowned choreographers. I began exploring my own choreographic
voice as an independent artist and have self-presented two full-length works, Quartet (2017) and Transverse Orientation (2018). I was also commissioned to create a new work for
Ballet Edmonton: my shadows premiered in Edmonton in 2019. In July 2019, Transverse Orientation was remounted as part of the Dancing on the Edge Festival, and I created my first short film, Excerpts of a Work in Progress, which was presented at the 2020 Dancing on the Edge Festival. I am currently a Resident Artist at Left of Main, a creative hub for the live arts community in Vancouver.
What is the inspiration behind your DanceLab research project?
Initially inspired by my two-year-old daughter’s question, “Do we die when we sleep?” this project explores the emotion of wonder and how it occupies our lives as we age and change through time. Wonder allows us to see beyond what is real; to imagine more possibilities. I began this research by asking why this emotion seems to diminish as we become older and why
it is necessary to carry wonder throughout our lives.
If you didn’t have a career in dance, what might you be doing?
I would be travelling the world with my own show on the National Geographic channel; informing my viewers of the importance of reptiles, amphibians, and insects.
How have you adapted your practice during the pandemic?
My practice during the pandemic has been about being patient, and as creative and flexible with time and energy as possible. I like to plan and to come prepared, however during the pandemic
I’ve had to exercise my ability to think on my feet. Rehearsals changed depending on what we felt comfortable working with on that day and often my whole team was not able to be present. It has also been well over a year since I took an open ballet class, which was my way of preparing physically and mentally for rehearsal. I now practice yoga regularly and have my own warm-up that can be done in a limited space.
What is your next project?
Wait and see!
DanceLab Studio Showing
Rachel Meyer: Mama do we die when we sleep?
Tuesday June 29, 2021 | 5pm PDT – Tuesday July 6 5pm PDT
Pay what you can $0/$10/$20
Supported through The Dance Centre’s DanceLab interdisciplinary research program.
Photos: courtesy of the artist and David Cooper