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Coming up this Friday, June 2, Artist-in-Residence VDCM will share Tethered: three works-in-progress from co-founders Virginia Duivenvoorden and Kay Huang. We sat down with them to discuss their journeys to dance, the founding of VDCM, and what we can expect from their studio showing.
Tell us about your journey to/through dance
Kay: I fell in love with dance as a child, as I was watching Swan Lake by the Royal Ballet in the early 70’s, possibly with Margot Fonteyn. It filled me with such longing. I asked my mom for ballet lessons after that. When I immigrated to Canada at 10 years old, I stopped dancing for 8 years. I started again at SFU and ended up with a BFA majoring in Dance. I joined Karen Jamieson Dance Company right after graduation from university. I started teaching dance and fell in love with that too! I’ve been teaching at Arts Umbrella for 26 years, and created Crossmaneuver to teach, guide, and create works for artists ages 2 -18.
Virginia: My journey began in ballet and later gravitated to theater joining the youth program at Arts Umbrella. There I met Erica Pinsky who was the artistic director of the youth dance company. Erica introduced me to more of contemporary dance which I loved. I attended SFU dance program and worked with Karen Jamieson where I first met Kay. It was there I also met Margaret Grenier and several years later joined the Dancers of Damelahamid. I also studied with Mary Fulkerson O’Donnell at EDDC in Arnhem, NL, where I developed a passion for improvisational dance, multimedia performance and choreography.
How did you meet, and when did you form VDCM?
Kay: Virginia and I met at Karen Jamieson Dance Company. We were colleagues in our twenties. We both left the company in the mid-90’s to pursue other projects. I was asked to be her director in 2019 for Hearts of Cloth, a solo that she choreographed and performed. In 2020, during the pandemic, we decided to join together to pursue choreography, performance, exploration, and growth.
Virginia: Yes, we had many duets and good memories of that time in the 90s. Kay is a wonderful dance artist, director and performer. It has been so helpful to work together because bringing a dance piece to full potential is a lot of work and navigating challenges everyday.
What have you been working on during your Dance Centre residency?
Kay: I’ve been refining my solo Yellow, a work about my namesake and cultural identity. I also created a duet with dance artist Brynne Harper about cross-generational conversations and creative processes called Crossing. Virginia and I are working on a duet called Switchback that follows different improvisational impulses that draw from audience participation.
Virginia: I am collaborating with performer Brynne Harper on a solo piece called Kite. This piece is danced with seven yards of tulle fabric and 2 yards of landscape cloth. The concept was connected to a broader project investigating art installation and audience engagement outdoors through kites and windsocks. There is also a new solo we have in development called Echo Chamber.
What can we expect in this studio showing?
Kay: The audience will be seeing three works: Yellow: choreography and performance by myself, Kite: choreography by Virginia and danced by Brynne Harper, and Crossing: choreography by me, and danced by Brynne Harper and myself. The showing will also include clips of film that connect to Crossing, an early stage of collaboration with Zoran Dragelj and John Stockburger.
What might people be surprised to know about you?
Virginia: It surprises people sometimes that I speak Dutch. I married Dutch and lived in the Netherlands for several years. My last name means dove marsh.
Kay: For those who know me deeply, I think I am the most predictable person. I like repetition and I am scared to go out of my comfort zone. I don’t think people see that because I hide these tendencies by being spontaneous with things within my comfort zone.
What is your next project?
Virginia: I am looking forward to developing Switchback further and some of the improv practices that are emerging. We hope to expand it to a group piece. We are also working with PHT Creative Hub to bring VDCM to Presentation House Theatre in North Vancouver. With thanks to the residency we are able to capture the new works on video and take them each forward into the next stages of development.
Kay: I am looking forward to developing Switchback and supporting Virginia on her new solo. I will be continuing my collaboration with Brynne Harper, Zoran Dragelj and John Stockburger to realize the vision of Crossing as a dance film/performance. I am thinking about a new piece of work regarding longings of the heart, and how those longings change at different junctions of our lives. I would like to bring in different artists from different stages of their lives and have conversations and movement studies on what future longings they hold and how that may resonate in the body.
Artist-in-Residence Studio Showing
Friday June 2, 2023 | 6pm
Scotiabank Dance Centre
Photos by Kornelia Kulbacki and John Stockburger
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