‘Shooting a Bird’ showcases next generation dance masters

“Shooting a Bird” brings together four emerging artists in York University’s Master of Fine Arts Program in Dance with an original program showing autobiographical dance created at the most personal level: the self-choreographed solo.

Choreographers and performers Angela Blumberg, Alison Daley, Katerine Kuznetsova and Anastasia Maywood highlight their varied histories while investigating their own desires to transcend the influences of the past. Their individual journeys intersect in “Shooting a Bird”, running Nov. 4 to 6 in York’s McLean Performance Studio.

“These four new solos offer glimpses of the interior landscapes and mysterious depths of each artist’s imagination,” said Professor Holly Small, the artistic director of the production. “The works explore a range of creative processes, take risks with edgy personal movement vocabulary and make innovative use of music and projected images. With poignant vulnerability and gentle humour, these four young artists share with us some moments of their personal history.”

Left: Angela Blumberg

Blumberg’s introspective new work Blind Spots uses dance, music and cinematic images to explore the complex subject matter of the hidden and repressed areas of the unconscious mind and her own cognitive being.

Blumberg studied dramaturgy in Germany before moving to London, England, where she earned a bachelor’s degree in contemporary dance at the Laban Centre. For the past four years, she has been working as an independent dance artist, presenting her own work in Germany, the UK, Sweden and Canada.

The awkwardness and angst of early teenage years is the central theme of Daley’s Thirteen. She likens this coming-of-age period, full of contradictions and confusion, to wandering, in a dark maze or an impenetrable fog.

Left: Alison Daley

Originally from Toronto, Daley trained in Montreal and was a company member with Japan’s Tokyo Space Dance. She has performed her own work at festivals in Canada, Europe and Asia, and since returning to Canada in 2006 has shown work in both Toronto and Montreal.

In m’otherland, Kuznetsova combines movement from Argentine tango and Russian folk dance to dive into intricate details of her history as a woman, artist and foreigner. Filled with intense vulnerability and irresistible vigour, the piece exposes a female body in an unending quest for balance and clarity.

Right: Katerine Kuznetsova

Kuznetsova trained in professional ballroom dance in her native Russia, touring in Europe, China and the US. In 1996, she moved to Anchorage, Alaska, where she earned a master’s degree in dance and adult education and enjoyed a 10-year teaching career before coming to York to pursue further studies in dance.

Maywood’s Prairie Blue is a journey to rediscover playfulness, curiosity and imagination. Using video footage of the Alberta skyline, her home province, and character-based movement derived from her clown alter ego, Alabasher, the choreographer offers a theatrical, light-hearted take on viewing the world through an inquisitive lens.

Left: Anastasia Maywood

Maywood holds a bachelor of arts in drama from the University of Alberta, where she also danced and choreographed with the Orchesis Modern Dance Group for nine years. Her recent choreographic credits in Edmonton include Transient/The Magpie Collection (Orchesis Dance Motif and Dancefest@Nextfest 2009) and the Global Youth Assembly Opening Ceremonies (summer 2009).

“Shooting a Bird” is the first of a series of thesis concerts being presented this season by York’s MFA Program in Dance. The next production takes place Jan. 16-17, 2010 in York’s Sandra Faire & Ivan Fecan Theatre, to be followed by a series of self-produced independent projects later in the spring.

“Shooting a Bird” performances on Nov. 4 and 5 start at 7:30pm, the Nov. 6 performance starts at 2pm. All performances take place in the McLean Performance Studio on the second floor of the Accolade East Building on York’s Keele campus. Single ticket admission is $20, tickets for students and seniors are $10. For more information or to purchase tickets, contact the York University Box Office at 416-736-5888.