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Dance artist Thoenn Glover talks to The Dance Centre’s Lindsay Curtis about her DanceLab project, PACK, which experiments with creating an immersive experience for micro-audiences.
LC: Who is Thoenn Glover, in a sentence?
TG: I am an adventurer, dancer, athlete, outdoor enthusiast, and artist seeking out creative and dynamic ways to engage with life.
LC: Tell us about your DanceLab project, PACK.
TG: The project was conceived from a mutual desire between myself and collaborators Haylee Nichelle and Samantha-Jane Gray to re-frame our own experiences with dance. We wanted to scrap the usual conventions of how dance is viewed and wrap the audience in an immersive, all-encompassing experience blurring the lines between theatre and contemporary dance.
I met both Haylee and Samantha-Jane through our mutual training at Arts Umbrella. Samantha-Jane was my first collaborator at the beginning of my choreographic explorations in 2009. The three of us share a common foundation yet have taken our careers in diverse directions. This DanceLab is a reunion and a chance for us to explore doing dance differently.
Haylee has a degree in dance from Julliard and was an original cast member of Speak No More, an immersive theatre show that is still experiencing sold-out success in New York City; she is now based in Los Angeles. Her experience with immersive theatre formats will be a foundational guide in structuring our own explorations in our DanceLab. Samantha-Jane is originally from South Africa, has danced for ballet companies from coast to coast, and is now also living in Los Angeles, expanding her dance practice into other realms such as the under-water environment.
For this DanceLab we are pooling our diverse experiences to experiment with creating a 15-minute immersive dance-theatre experience that features one-on-one engagements with the audience and little-used spaces in the Faris Family Studio.
LC: How are you using the space?
TG: In keeping with our goal to re-imagine theatrical layouts, we are animating non-performance areas of the theatre space. Given the explorative nature of the process the final locations could change, but at the moment we are interested in using spaces such as the entrance vestibule, under the seats, and the back hallway. The audience will be guided through the chosen locations and confronted with each unique environment, either alone or with a maximum of three other audience members.
LC: What opportunities do micro-performances for very small audiences offer, for artists and spectators?
TG: Micro-performances are limited in their reach but provide an opportunity for deeper impact on the individual. It allows an audience member to be a part of something and to have a personal engagement with the process and performers. Ultimately, this type of performance could accommodate larger audiences if well designed and with adequate resources. At this point in our exploration our goal is to experiment and discover an effective format for a small test audience, focusing on maximizing the impact for these individuals. We want our audiences to leave with their personal creativity engaged and provoked.
DanceLab Studio Showing
Thoenn Glover: PACK
Friday May 10, 2019 | showings at 5pm, 5.15pm, 5.30pm, 5.45pm
Faris Family Studio
Photo by Todd James