The Dance Centre presents the Global Dance Connections series
Arash Khakpour and Emmalena Fredriksson
You Touch Me
December 8-10, 2022
Scotiabank Dance Centre
The Dance Centre acknowledges that it is located on the traditional, ancestral, and unceded territories of the the xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam), Sḵwx̱wú7mesh (Squamish), and səlilwətaɬ (Tsleil-Waututh) Nations. It is an honour and a privilege for us to be guests in their lands. We are grateful.
It is a great pleasure to witness the evolution of an idea and creative process that Arash Khakpour and Emmalena Fredriksson started in 2017, starting with a duet and now with six performers, who grew up far from here but also far from each other. As in life, these encounters are also a meeting point between different cultures and individual expressions reflecting upon the “self” and the “other”, bringing up universal themes around race, gender, love, aging, climate change, migration. The action on stage moves between text and physicality, and between the political and the poetic; themes which can be seen as provocative are eased through use humour, which does not take away from the serious questions the artists consider, in an effort to reveal the reality that unfolds around us. The work does not offer solutions, rather it raises questions around what we – as individuals, and also through collective action – have to offer towards a resolve for a better world.
Mirna Zagar, Executive Director, The Dance Centre
You Touch Me weaves an intricate web of duets within an ensemble of people who grew up far from here – and far from each other. Using dance and text, their encounters investigate notions of ‘self’ and ‘other’, cultural identity, race and gender. Six virtuosic performers dance, entertain, question and challenge each other, touching on universal themes from togetherness, ageing and love, to climate change and migration. Moving between the political and the poetic, the provocative and the abstract, seriousness and silliness, the work attempts to feel and reveal this moment in time.
We wish to thank all the organizations and individuals who have supported this work up until now. The research for what now has grown into You Touch Me began with a residency at Simon Fraser University in the summer of 2016. Arash and Emmalena received the Chrystal Dance Prize from Dance Victoria in 2017 to develop the project further through a residency in Victoria and Teater Martin Mutter /Örebro Län in Örebro, Sweden. The piece was presented as a duet at Dancing on the Edge in July 2017. With the artistic vision to expand the work to an ensemble of Vancouver-based bilingual dancers, Arash and Emmalena received support from The Canada Council for The Arts and The Dance Centre for the premiere of You Touch Me. A special thank you to Diego Romero and Dario Dinuzzi, who were part of the development process in 2019 and 2020.
YOU TOUCH ME
Choreographers/performers – Arash Khakpour and Emmalena Fredriksson
Performers – Isabelle Kirouac, Natalie Tin Yin Gan, Luciana Freire D’Anunciação, Juolin Lee
Rehearsal director – Kate Franklin
Outside Eye – Raina von Waldenburg
Sound Consultant – Alex Mah
Costume Designer – Alaia Hamer
Lighting Designer – Jonathan Kim
Project Manager/Projection Design – Nico Dicecco
Originally from Tehran and based in Vancouver, Arash Khakpour is privileged to be a dance artist who has immigrated to the ancestral and unceded Coast Salish territory. Arash’s practice is concerned with the reveal of the complexity of the human experience, and of having a body. He investigates how thoughts influence the body and how bodily states and sensations influence thoughts. This leads to his ever-evolving interest in experiencing what it feels like to be a body without any direct focus on intellectual thinking and concerns. How can I just be a body? Arash’s desire is to see whether performance can be a process to interrogate the body and to investigate alternate ways of being, seeing and feeling. He is interested in dancing as a language that researches the human condition through historical, social, political, spiritual and existential interpretations.
Arash is the co-founder of the dance-theatre company The Biting School (alongside his brother Aryo Khakpour), and co-founder of Vancouver’s guerrilla performance group Pressed Paradise. Arash is grateful to be the 2016 recipient of Dance Victoria’s Chrystal Dance Prize with Emmalena Fredriksson for the creation of You Touch Me.
Emmalena Fredriksson is a contemporary dance artist living and working in Vancouver, as an uninvited guest on the ancestral unceded lands of the Coast Salish peoples. Her practice is defined by choreography as a relational practice in the expanded fields of dance, often collaborating with artists of other disciplines, creating choreographic experiences and dance for social events, film, galleries and performance. Born in Sweden, she received her training at Balettakademien in Umeå and at SEAD in Austria. Emmalena has presented choreographic work, and performed and taught internationally with Daghdha Dance Company (IE), Canaldanse (FR), Malta University (MT), Pact Zollverein (DE), and Falmouth University (UK) among others and has been based in Vancouver since 2013. Emmalena holds an MFA degree from Simon Fraser University and is currently a term lecturer on the SCA dance and theatre programs. www.emmalenafredriksson.com
Nico Dicecco is a stage manager, video artist, and general production/tech/logistics nerd based in Vancouver, BC on the unceded territories of the xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam), Skwxwú7mesh (Squamish) and səl̓ílwətaʔɬ (Tsleil-Waututh) Nations. Some favourite past (and some ongoing) projects include the Matriarchs Uprising Festival (O. Dela Arts), Body Parts (Tara Cheyenne Performance), In Camera (Realwheels Theatre), #whatnow (Alley Theatre), Mambo and Other Works (Ballet Kelowna), and Benevolence (Ruby Slippers). Nico has previously worked with Arash as the project manager for Melon Piece / Blue Space (The Biting School). Upcoming projects include both Pants and Goggles with Tara Cheyenne Performance, The River with Myriad Dance, Through My Lens with Theatre Replacement, and Spinsters with Small Matters. When he’s not working, Nico can usually be found still actually working despite his best efforts to take a break.
Juolin Lee is a Taiwanese-Canadian emerging dance artist who is fascinated by the transformative power of dance. Juolin feels fortunate to live, learn and create on the unceded territories of the Musqueam, Squamish and Tsleil-Waututh Nations. She completed her training in Modus Operandi Contemporary Dance program in June 2021. Juolin has a deep love and respect for the dance community she’s immersed in. She has had the pleasure to work with Tiffany Tregarthen, Natalie TY Gan, Ziyian Kwan, Arash Khakpour, Emmalena Fredriksson and Zahra Shahab. Dance to Juolin is a portal to indescribable emotions and complex, swerving stories. Through openness and curiosity she wishes to continuously unpack her idea of self and her relationship with the world.
Isabelle Kirouac is a transdisciplinary choreographer, movement artist, educator and mother born in Quebec, on the lands of the Abenaki people. She lives in Vancouver, on the unceded territories of the Musqueam, Squamish and Tsleil-Waututh nations. She uses movement as a tool to investigate the poetics of the senses, and to process questions raised in her everyday life. Informed by her training in improvisation, somatics and contemporary stilts, her artistic practice has recently focused on deepening her understanding of ecology through movement practice, performance, installations, and community-engaged projects. Isabelle has presented her work across Canada, the USA, Mexico, Colombia and Europe. She co-facilitates the Art & Fungi Project in collaboration with mycologist/artist Willoughby Arevalo. She has performed in the work of Emmanuel Jouthe/Danse Carpe Diem (Montreal), Emmalena Fredriksson, Arash Khakpour, Julie Lebel/Foolish Operations, Theatre Junction (Calgary), La Pocha Nostra (USA/Mexico), Body Research (USA), The Carpetbag Brigade Physical Theatre (USA), Nemcatacoa Teatro (Colombia), and others. She holds an MFA in Interdisciplinary Arts from the School for the Contemporary Arts at Simon Fraser University.
Award-winning dance artist Kate Franklin spent the first decade of her career in Toronto/Tkaronto. Since 2012 she has lived in Vancouver on the unceded Indigenous land belonging to the Coast Salish peoples, including the territories of the xʷməθkwəy̓əm (Musqueam), Skwxwú7mesh (Squamish), Stó:lō and Səl̓ílwətaʔ/Selilwitulh (Tsleil-Waututh) Nations. She has just started her seventh season as Associate Director of Modus Operandi. She frequently collaborates with choreographers and companies such as Tara Cheyenne Performance, Justine A. Chambers, Company 605 and Ne.Sans Opera and Dance. She returns to Toronto regularly to continue her work with Valerie Calam/Company Vice Versa. Kate’s own choreography has been shown most recently at the EDAM Choreographic Showcase and Dancing on the Edge. Kate has had a wonderful time working with Emmalena, Arash, Juolin, Natalie, Luciana and Isabelle on You Touch Me.
Natalie Tin Yin Gan (顏婷妍) is an independent choreographer, interdisciplinary artist, and writer working on the unceded ancestral lands of the Coast Salish peoples. Her practice squats at the intersections of food, feminisms, race, voice, and body. She has presented, performed, and spoken in Seattle, Vietnam, Malaysia, Japan, and across Canada. Natalie is the Co-Artistic Director of company Hong Kong Exile that explores the historical and contemporary politic of the Chinese diaspora. She is a graduate of The Writer’s Studio and completing her teacher certification in Fitzmaurice Voicework®. Natalie is a late sleeper, a late riser, a late bloomer, a latecomer, and a late-night snacker. She publishes under a pseudonym and is currently writing for indie video game company Sunset Visitor Studios.
Luciana Freire D’Anunciação is a performance artist. Not only exclusively into the making of dance, theatre or performance art pieces, but also in an interdisciplinary way with video, installation, photography, voice and sound. Luciana’s work has as a starting point in her body’s perceptive system, and from it the way she relates to the world and to the Other socially, politically, playfully. Luciana’s academic background is based on her MFA in interdisciplinary studies from Simon Fraser University (Vancouver) and a BA in Communications from Universidade Federal de Pernambuco (Recife, Brazil). The period between the two degrees she has developed video art pieces that was exhibited in festivals such as Square Eyes, Exchange Gallery (Cornwall, UK, 2011), Direct Action no Institut für alles mögliche (Berlim, 2011) and SPA das Artes 2006 (Recife, Brazil). Also she has been making performance art pieces for festivals such as Chance Ecologies (NY, 2015), Deformes Bienalle (Santiago Chile 2014), LIVE Biennale (Vancouver, 2013) and European Performance Art Festival (Warsaw and Lublin, 2011). Luciana’s theatre and dance work has been shown at The Vancouver International Fringe Festival and independently in Canada and Brazil.
THE DANCE CENTRE
The Dance Centre was established in 1986 as a resource centre for dance professionals and the public in British Columbia, and offers a range of activities unparalleled in Canadian dance. The Dance Centre offers programs and resources supporting the professional development of artists, presents public performances and events, manages Scotiabank Dance Centre, one of Canada’s leading dance facilities, and works to promote BC dance.
Staff Executive Director Mirna Zagar; Programming Coordinator Raquel Alvaro; Associate Producer Linda Blankstein; Director of Marketing Heather Bray; Digital Marketing Coordinator Lindsay Curtis; Development Coordinator Anna Ruscitti; Venue and Operations Manager Simran Ghesani; Lead Technician Chengyan Boon; Comptroller Elyn Dobbs; Dance Central Editor Shanny Rann
Board of Directors Jason Wrobleski (Chair); Andrea Reid (Vice-Chair); Annelie Vistica (Treasurer); Tin Gamboa (Secretary); Judith Garay; Linda Gordon; Arash Khakpour; Rosario Kolstee; Anndraya Luui, Rachel Maddock; Katia Oteman
The Dance Centre is grateful for the generous support of The Choreographer’s Circle, Anndraya Luui and the BC Arts Renaissance Fund.
THE CORPORATE LEADER’S CIRCLE
Alexander Holburn Beaudin + Lang LLP – Ingrid M. Tsui, Partner; The Holiday Inn and Suites Vancouver Downtown – Angela van den Byllaard, Sales Manager; Jarislowsky, Fraser Limited – Beau Howes
THE CHOREOGRAPHER’S CIRCLE
Impresario: Charles and Eve Chang Foundation, Anndraya Luui; Choreographer: Anonymous, Anonymous, Beau Howes and Genieve Burley, Tony Giacinti (in memory of Lola MacLaughlin), Stephen Jarislowsky, Anne Hildebrandt; Artistic Director: Linda Blankstein, Marnie Carter, Yosef Wosk OBC, Moh Faris, David Matte; Principal Dancer: David Cousins, James Felter, Mike and Kathy Gallagher, Ken Gracie and Philip Waddell, McGrane – Pearson Endowment Fund, Jean Orr, Don and Jane Shumka, Janet and Ron Stern; Dance Artist: Anonymous, Anonymous, Ken Alexander, Santa Aloi, Rosario Ancer, Mary and Herb Auerbach, Gary R. Bell, Andrew and Andrea Benzel, Noel Best and Barbara Shuman, Matthew Breech and Shino Watanabe, Richard Cavell and Peter Dickinson, Amanda Collinge, Norm and Dorothy Cross, Count and Countess Enrico and Aline Dobrzensky, Jason Dubois and Clayton Baraniuk, Nicola Follows, Judith Garay, Peter Harmon, Linda Johnston, Emily Klukas, Amy Millar, Andrea Reid, Kathy Scalzo, Kemo Schedlosky and Mark Gatha, Betty Scheltgen, Ingrid Tsui and Matthew Heemskerk, Annelie and Dan Vistica, Denis Walz, Michael Welters, Mirna Zagar; Max Wyman and Susan Mertens, Jason Wrobleski.
THE ARTIST’S CIRCLE
Linda Aristizabal, Brent Belsher, Denis Blais and Paras Terezakis, Val Brandt, Deborah Dragon, Lorna Froidevaux, Lynn B. Johnston, Lorita Leung – The Lorita Leung Dance Association, Barry McKinnon, Dubravko Pajalic, Dr. Mary Robertson, Frank Salisbury, Selma Savage.
The operations of The Dance Centre are supported by the Government of Canada, Canada Council for the Arts, the Government of British Columbia, the BC Arts Council, and the City of Vancouver.
Media sponsor: Stir
The VDC Dance Centre Society is a registered charity no. BN 11925 8754 RR0001