Emerging dance masters unveil new works

picture of dance in Temenos

Graduate students Shannon Roberts, Nancy Latoszewski Greyeyes and Ilse Gudiño, candidates in York’s Master of Fine Arts (MFA) program in choreography and dance dramaturgy, premiere new choreographies for ensembles in Temenos. The show, performed by professional and pre-professional dancers, runs Feb. 15 to 17 in the Sandra Faire & Ivan Fecan Theatre at the Keele campus.

Shannon Roberts dancingShannon Roberts. Photo by David Hou

The Greek word temenos refers to a piece of land cut off from common use, often dedicated as a place for worship. Historically, the proscenium stage has been regarded as a space reserved for particular users and dedicated to expressing the meanings that infuse our bodies and relationships.

As well as addressing the concept of the stage as a special site, the three emerging choreographers build on the idea of the dancing body itself as temenos – simultaneously separated from society’s imposed meanings, and infused with individual sources of meaning for each artist.

“Their dances focus on navigating the proscenium stage as a site for researching the body’s memories and cultural constructions,” said Professor Darcey Callison, the production’s artistic director. “From delving into the historical roots of flamenco, to exploring a family narrative of coal miners in Pennsylvania, to challenging the complexity of the male gaze, these choreographers investigate the proscenium theatre as temenos: a theatrical space that frames these works in order to make visible the body as a conduit for memories and social conditions that permeate their choreography.”

Fusing modern dance with her athletic background, Shannon Roberts incorporates Bollywood, ballet, jazz, modern, hip hop, figure skating and flying trapeze into her work. Her choreography is inspired by social issues and the people, artwork and cultures she has experienced in her travels around the world.

Roberts’ work, A Way of Seeing, is a discourse between Edvard Munch’s painting Woman in Three Stages and writer Ilse Gudiño Barthold performingJohn Berger’s influential book Ways of Seeing. Investigating how a woman’s experience is informed through youth, sexuality and aging, this trio explores a sensual physical language that frames the private experience as public display.

 Ilse Gudiño Barthold. Photo by David Hou

In her piece, In the Marrow: A Crucial Journey, Ilse Gudiño Barthold explores the history of flamenco as cultural memory and personal expression. Four dancers and four live musicians bring to the stage this complex journey, from a dance form infused with cultural significance to a movement vocabulary that is both personal and contemporary.

Trained in flamenco dance in Madrid and Seville, Gudiño Barthold has been a member of the Esmeralda Enrique Spanish Dance Company since 1997 and has performed as a soloist and with other flamenco dancers across Canada and internationally.

In Valley of Coal, Nancy Latoszewski (Greyeyes) tells the story of her grandparents. Both her grandfathers were Pennsylvania coal miners, and her choreography charts memories of the challenges they faced and the personal sacrifices they made. This narrative choreography is Latoszewski’s way of exploring oral history through her work as a dance artist.

Nancy Latoszewski (Greyeyes) dancingNancy Latoszewski (Greyeyes). Photo by David Hou

A former soloist with Feld Ballets NY, Latoszewski has also been a principal dancer with the Cleveland San Jose Ballet and Alberta Ballet. Her work has been performed at Nuit Blanche and by Ballet Jörgen, and she has also choreographed for film.

The Temenos program concludes with a structured improvisation created by the York Dance Ensemble’s (YDE) artistic director Holly Small in collaboration with the ensemble, and performed by the 16 dancers and five musicians of the YDE.

For tickets, contact the Box Office at 416-736-5888.