A presentation by TWObigsteps Collective with support from The Dance Centre.
TWObigsteps Collective gratefully acknowledges the support of The Dance Centre, Canada Council for the Arts, Made in BC – Dance on Tour, New Works, and explorASIAN in the development of this performance. Thank you to Maddie, Heather, Raquel, Mirna, and Lindsay who worked incredibly hard to keep everything organized leading up to these performances
Stage Manager: Kayleigh Sandomirsky
Live-Stream Operator: Yasuhiro Okada
Camera Operator: Teppei Tanabe
Technical Director: Chengyan Boon
Administrative Assistant: Madison Coulter
Choreographer: Katie Cassady, in collaboration with the dancers
Dancers: Sophie Mueller-Langer, Sarah Wong
Lighting Design: Chengyan Boon
Composer: Stefan Nazarevich
Additional Music: Luft by H Takahashi
Stage Manager: Kayleigh Sandomirsky
II is the space between two people. The connection, the complexity, and the care.
Many thanks to Julianne Chapple, Susanna Barlow, Jane Gabriels, Christian Vistan, Stéphanie Cyr, Stefan Nazarevich, Chengyan Boon, Kayleigh Sandomirsky, Raquel Alvaro, Lindsay Curtis, Heather Bray, and Marissa Wong.
Special thanks to Sarah and Sophie, for sharing, for dancing.
Choreographer/Performer: Marissa Wong
Original Music and Sound: Jamie Bradbury
Lighting Design: Jonathan Kim
Styling and Costumes: Meagan Woods
Dramaturg: Chick Snipper
Rehearsal Direction: Hayley Gawthrop
Departure is memory and attachment to those memories, it’s history (both within this lifetime and ancestral), it’s processing trauma and healing as a non-linear process, it’s working with those voices in your head, vulnerability, and response to adversity, it’s learning and growth, allowance, letting go, and setting boundaries. This piece is my offering to all of you, sharing my personal landscape to reflect a collective, shared experience. I hope for this solo to be an accessible entry point for discussion and further conversation beyond this premiere.
It brings so much warmth to my soul to all of those who have donated time, energy and financial support. Katie, Hayley, Jamie, Chick, Jono, Meagan, Kayleigh, Yasu, Teppei, and Chengyan: I wouldn’t have been able to do this without your shared conversations and love. And to my partner, and my family, both biological and chosen: thank you for your continued support.
To the audience: thank you for supporting during these uncertain times, I look forward to sharing this work with you.
In addition to the acknowledgements from TWObigsteps, I would like to thank the support of the BC Arts Council, Banff Centre for the Arts, and KW Studios in the development of Departure.
Many thanks to the voice recordings from Mama Wong, Alexander Vargas, Stephen DiBiase, Yin Yin, Les Wong, Smith Grady, Beverley Bagg, Taeyoung Chang, and Levi Danielski.
Special thanks to Raina von Waldenburg, Barbara Bourget, Belen Garcia, Cara Tench, Amber Funk Barton, and Davida Monk.
ARTIST CONVERSION WITH MARISSA AND KATIE
ABOUT TWObigsteps Collective
TWObigsteps Collective, founded in 2015, is a collective of like-minded emerging dance artists who come together and create open artistic environments. Our movement vocabulary stems from a shared training background in ballet, contemporary and commercial dance. We operate within a horizontal power structure and consistently reassess everyone’s needs, which has led us to practice accountability within the group. We are a project-based collective, whose composition changes based on the members’ availability. We operate with open communication and value members finding their own artistic voice inside a collective atmosphere. We encourage people to take on different artistic and administrative roles within the group, which has given the space for all members to learn new and important skills in a supportive environment.
Over the years, we have learned that we share an interest in curating spaces that are community-oriented. We feel that it is important to engage with the youth through classes and workshops. We value collaboration across artistic disciplines, and aim to have this show up in both our work and artistic processes. The collective is POC, queer and trans- inclusive and acknowledges that each member has their own distinct cultural background and dance history. We use this diversity to engage with and strengthen different parts of the local and international dance communities.
Katie Cassady is a teacher, performer, and choreographer based in Vancouver, BC, the unceded territories of the Squamish, Musqueam and Tsleil-Waututh Nations. Katie completed her training at Simon Fraser University and the San Francisco Conservatory of Dance and has had the honour to perform with Kokoro Dance, Amber Funk Barton/the response., Julianne Chapple, TWObigsteps Collective, and Donald Sales. As an independent creator, her work has been presented at the Contemporary Art Gallery’s Dance Week 2019, the Shooting Gallery Performance Series, Nextfest, Response Dance’s Dance Café, and Vines Art Festival. Katie was selected as a participating artist for Made in BC’s Re-centering/Margins 2020 Residency. Katie holds a BA in Art History from the University of British Columbia.
Marissa Wong is a Canadian-Chinese, dance artist based on the unceded territories of the Skwxwú7mesh (Squamish), Səlílwətaɬ (Tsleil- Waututh), and xwməθkwəyəm (Musqueam) Nations, also named Vancouver, BC. Her choreography has been presented internationally including at TEDxSoma (San Francisco) and Dance in Vancouver. She continues to host, perform, and create works through TWObigsteps Collective, which she founded in 2015. In addition to performance, Marissa engages in the community through workshop facilitation, project managing, stage managing and teaching. This Summer, she will be taking over as Artistic Director for the response., under this new direction, the company will be renamed The Falling Company.
Sarah Wong is an emerging dance artist, choreographer and writer based in Vancouver, Canada on the unceded territories of the Musqueam, Squamish, and Tsleil-Waututh Nations. Her practice explores queer and racialized identity through the lens of ancestry. Using embodied experiences and archival materials, she creates within the realms of performance, installation, and creative writing. Her work has been presented in Vancouver at IGNITE! Youth Arts Festival, Vines Art Festival, and Boombox, and internationally at Mosaico Danza Interplay Festival (Turin, Italy). She has worked with artists including Dumb Instrument Dance, plastic orchid factory, and Mardon & Mitsuhashi. Sarah is currently engaged in a mentorship with Justine A. Chambers through the support of the BC Arts Council Early Career Development Program.
Sophie Mueller-Langer is a dance artist in Vancouver, Canada on the unceded territories of the Musqueam, Squamish, and Tsleil-Waututh Nations. Under scholarship in 2016, she attended Arts Umbrella’s Dance Diploma Graduate Program. Sophie participated in a choreographic mentorship led by Crystal Pite, was a guest artist in Ballet BC’s 2017/2018 season, and performed on an European tour. Upon graduation, she was invited to attend the Amsterdam Academy voor Theater en Dans. Becoming a member with Korzo Theatre productions in the Hague, Sophie freelanced in The Netherlands. Having just premiered a film project at The Cultch’s Ignite Youth Festival, Sophie wishes to tackle global themes all while seeing how dance can be increasingly more accessible to everyday people.
Stefan Nazarevich is a composer and interdisciplinary performer, based in Vancouver, BC. Under the alias SAN, Stefan released his debut EP of solo electronic music, Haven, in July 2019, on digital streaming platforms. While Haven was created within the confines of a computer screen, Stefan’s solo practice has expanded to include physical modular synthesizers and guitar pedals to create ethereal synthetic textures. Along with Shion Skye Carter, he is one half of the duo olive theory, whose debut work reach-close (2019) features an amplified piano wire installation, performed with violin bows and the scraping of shaved heads. Stefan’s work turns the emergent artifacts of failing technology into aesthetic sonic objects, inspired by retro sci-fi, anime, and the glitches in the Matrix. His work has been presented at events such as Vancouver International Dance Festival (2019), Vines Art Festival (2020), and the Darmstadt International Summer Course (2018, Germany).
Jamie Bradbury is an award-winning professional multidisciplinary artist. He specializes in the fields of visual arts, music, and independent research creation, having participated in conferences at McGill, Concordia, NSCAD, and Oxford University. His sound works have been performed in both Canada and the United States at the 11th Dance Biennale Vancouver, SAFEhouse Arts San Francisco, and TEDXSoMa. Originally from Toronto, Jamie was a staple of the underground warehouse music scene in Toronto’s famed Westend Art district. He helped usher in a new alternative dance music scene, bending genres and sounds from around the globe. In late 2020 Jamie, under the stage name James Scott, released his debut album The Art of Dying, exploring themes of love, loss, isolation, connectedness, and healing, through the passage of time. He has appeared in a number of publications and media such as Canadian Art, Voir Magazine, CBC News, and Garageland (UK).
Jonathan Kim, better known as Jono, is a Jessie-nominated lighting designer based in Vancouver, BC. He is a graduate of SFU’s Theatre Production and Design program. Jonathan is also a member of ADC (Associated Designers Canada) and Chimerik 似不像, an interdisciplinary collective. His most recent works include: House and Home (Firehall Arts Centre); Gramma (Pacific Theatre); High Water (Macromatter); Flying White (Turning Point Ensemble & Wen Wei Dance); Kim’s Convenience (Arts Club); Wishing Well (O.Dela Arts); The Relay (The Cultch Digital Storytelling Team); and The Array: First Contact (Upintheair Theatre).
Chengyan Boon is a Vancouver-based lighting designer and technical director working extensively with local dance, theatre and music groups. At Scotiabank Dance Centre, he oversees the 154-seat Faris Family Studio, working with various rental, presented and resident groups to fulfill technical requirements since 2017. Outside, he has been found designing lights for companies such as Gateway Theatre, Pacific Theatre, South Asian Arts, Aenigma Theatre, Theatre Terrific, South Asian Canadian Histories Association, Theatre in the Raw and Pangaea Arts. Chengyan is a member of the Associated Designers of Canada and holds a BFA from UBC’s Theatre Production and Design program. Design portfolio at chengyanboon.com.
Meagan Woods is a choreographer, performer, writer, and costume designer who is passionate about collaborative, interdisciplinary work. She holds an MFA in Interdisciplinary Studies from Simon Fraser University, a BFA in Dance from Rutgers University, and has guest lectured at both universities. Her research investigates movement theories across creative practices, including dance, film, and sewing. She recently spoke on the TEDx stage about reimagining forms of progress through the reversal processes of sewing. You can view her TEDx talk “Stitching a New Form of Progress” here.
Chick Snipper, a Vancouver-based artist, has worked professionally for over 40 years as a choreographer, director, educator, teacher, dramaturge, mentor, coach, and writer in the mediums of dance, theatre, film and multidisciplinary creation/performance. She is also a mother and grandmother.
Hayley Gawthrop was born and raised in White Rock, BC and started taking ballet class at the age of 3. They received their early training at Essence of Dance inc, deeply rooted in ballet and jazz. Hayley discovered contemporary dance in 2012 through Vancouver-based Modus Operandi: professional training program. During their four years in the program, Hayley had the opportunity to work with local and international choreographers such as Crystal Pite, Tiffany Tregarthen, David Raymond, Serge Bennathan, Deanna Peters, 605 Collective, Wen Wei Wang, Shay Kuebler, Rob Kitsos, Emmalena Fredriksson, Vanessa Goodman, and Out Innerspace Dance Theatre. Since graduating in 2016, Hayley has had the pleasure of performing and interpreting works by Areli Moran, Omer Keinan, Fight With a Stick, Dumb Instrument Dance, Kelly McInnes, The Response, MACHiNENOiSEY Dance Society, Justine A. Chambers and Alexa Mardon, and has worked as a dramaturge/ outside eye for Kelly McInnes and Marissa Wong. Hayley is interested in making and doing. They are driven by their desire to disrupt gender binaries and are deeply rooted in intersectional feminism, radical tenderness and gender nihilism.
Kayleigh Sandomirsky is a multidisciplinary artist based in the traditional, unceded territories of the xwməθkwəy̓ əm (Musqueam), Skwxwú7mesh (Squamish), and Səlílwətaɬ (Tsleil-Waututh) Nations. After graduating from Simon Fraser University with a BFA in Theatre Performance she quickly turned to Stage Management as her main artistic focus. Recent stage managing credits include: The Array: First Contact and The Array: The Shape of the Galaxy (presented by upintheair theatre), Holocaust Brunch (Tamara Micner, presented by the Chutzpah! Festival), 2019 Vancouver Tap Dance Festival, The Saddest Girl at the Party and DUST (Francesca Frewer and Erika Mitsuhashi), and Yours in Revolt, Ginger (Troika Collective). She has also had the opportunity to work with: rice and beans theatre, Popcorn Galaxies, Theatre Conspiracy, and House of Rice. When Kayleigh isn’t stage managing she also works as the Resident Curator with upintheair theatre, where she has learned a tremendous amount about digital art making and production this past year, as they had to cancel and curate an entirely new digital festival in only a few months. Kayleigh is excited to be back in the theatre and bring her knowledge she has learned over this past year to the work.
Born in Hokkaido, Japan. Yasuhiro Okada received his Masters degree in digital content management from DHU graduate school in Tokyo. He worked as a videographer for Sony Music and Columbia Records in Tokyo. He is an awardee of Nikon photography in 2011 for portrait work. He continues as a freelance videographer and photographer in Vancouver, Canada.
Teppei Tanabe is a photographer & videographer based in Vancouver, BC. My interest in photography developed in 2011 when I first came to Vancouver as part of the Work Holiday program. What started off as a hobby soon turned into something I truly love and am passionate about. While I enjoy taking photos and creating something pleasing to look at, I also hope to inspire others through my photographs by capturing moments that are moving and meaningful. I hope people are able to get a better sense of what a “Good Life” is through my work.
Madison Coulter was born in Hong Kong, and spent her early childhood in Lagos, Nigeria. She began ballet lessons at the age of 3 with her mom as her teacher. In 2008, she and her family moved back to Canada. Madison continued her training at several studios in the Lower Mainland under the instruction of Jocelyn Wozencroft and Amber Barton. She performed at local competitions, and in 2019 took a trip to New York with her half-day team to compete in the Youth American Grand Prix Finals. Over the years she grew a passion for the behind the scenes of performances, and was intrigued on how everything came together from the other side of the cyc. Madison had the opportunity to assist with the children’s cast of Alberta Ballet’s The Nutcracker, and her passion grew even more. This is her first official job as an Arts Administrative Assistant and she is so excited for the opportunity to work alongside and learn from Marissa Wong.