York Dances traces choreographic journeys in Way/faring

The Department of Dance launches its season tonight with York Dances, an annual fall showcase highlighting the talents of up-and-coming young choreographers.

The program, titled Way/faring, presents the world premiere performances of 18 original works created by third-year dance majors.

Ranging from solos to large ensemble pieces, York Dances – Way/faring reflects a wide variety of styles and moods. With themes ranging from heartbreak to sleep deprivation to kinetic molecular theory, the dances trace journeys of the imagination and spirit as well as the body.

Laura Bolender’s "On Seeing " reveals a disorienting journey through spiritual blindness. Seven dancers, caught in the lingering notes of a single piano, learn to navigate the world through senses other than sight. The movement continues a dialogue about perspective and faith in something greater than what we see.  

Is a chair really just a simple object? Can it be complex? Can it be artistic? Can it dance? Kristin Di Nino explores these questions in her duet, in which the dancers symbolize the constant power struggle between logic and creativity.

Niomi Cherney’s "The Things in a Box", set to live music performed by Lisa Conway and Jo Fallak, explores the complex interactions of self-projection and self-perception. Born through an extensive process of improvisation involving simultaneous development of movement and sound, the work embodies a genuine relationship of dancer and musician.

The path of progress is well-traveled, but its seeming infinity leads the traveler to wonder how best to navigate the crossroads of expectation. Caitlin Brown’s solo uses dynamic movement to portray the personal struggle to advance and mature.

In her piece, titled ‘Re:act’, Sarah Douglas looks into the forces and interactions between particles as they collide in their natural infinitesimal space. The quirky, high-energy choreography uses five dancers to demonstrate what can happen when human movers adopt the intentions, directions, and reactivity of single molecules.

Exploring an archetypal female narrative, Sky Fairchild-Waller’s solo, "she", traverses a pure and gestural landscape. Stalled moments in time are pierced by stark lighting as the dancer confronts the observer.

"To That Which Is to Come", choreographed by Anne Hurd and set to original music composed by Scott Hurd, is an interpretation of John Bunyan’s The Pilgrim’s Progress. Seven dancers chart the Pilgrim’s life journey through confusion, persecution, deceit, humility, grace, happiness, temptation and joy.

Nadine Tayir’s quartet, "Broken Love and Trust", traces the emotional roller coaster experienced by a woman who finds out her husband has been leading a double life.

In Nicole Leone’s choreography, three dancers, facets of the same entity, journey through the past to consider how the present acts as a catalyst in foretelling the future.

Have you ever sat on a park bench and watched the world go by? A dance of life unfolds before your eyes. Two performers explore the creative potential of everyday movement in "Ordinary" by Liisa Murray.

These and eight other new choreographies are presented in two series running Nov. 21-24 at 7pm (Series A) and 8:30pm (Series B) nightly.

The show is directed by Professor Carol Anderson (right), an alumna of York’s Dance Program who has long been a major force on the Canadian dance scene.

Helping to set the scene is lighting designer Arun Srinivasan. A York theatre graduate (BFA ’94), Srinivasan has worked professionally in East Asia, India and across North America. His stage credits include serving as associate lighting designer for the Toronto production of The Lion King. In dance, he has lit productions for many leading choreographers and companies, including Danny Grossman, Robert Desrosiers, Denis Fujiwara, Ballet Jörgen and the Canasian Dance Festival.

York Dances – Way/faring take place in the McLean Performance Studio, 244 Accolade East Building. Admission is $12. Tickets are available through the Fine Arts Box Office at ext. 5888 or www.yorku.ca/perform/boxoffice.