Seven rising artists in the Graduate Program in Dance – Contemporary Choreography and Dance Dramaturgy showcase their creative research in Body of Minds, on stage Feb. 13 and 14 in the Sandra Faire and Ivan Fecan Theatre, Accolade East Building at York University’s Keele campus.
Premiering new solo and ensemble works are second-year MFA candidates Valerie Calam, Patrizia Ferlisi, Marie France Forcier, Sharon Harvey, Ruth Levin, Maria Victoria Mata and Michelle McClelland. Professor Darcey Callison is the artistic director for the show, with production design and direction by Professor William Mackwood.
The works featured in Body of Minds reflect the choreographers’ interest in the complexities of embodying an idea through movement. They explore a wide range of concepts, from the immigrant experience and identity to female entertainers, the alienating effects of technology, and the creative challenges of expressing post-traumatic stress through dance.
Maria Victoria Mata‘s ensemble work Memory Lane comprises a series of nostalgic vignettes that explore the construction and reconstruction of memory through the migrant body. The dancers, five Toronto-based Latin American performers, undertake an intimate, collective voyage of cultural memories that are archived, negotiated and occasionally re-created in the attempt to preserve and cultivate experiences of ‘home’.
In line with her research on the expression of post-traumatic stress in contemporary choreography, Marie France Forcier‘s sextet, The Snow Globe, presents a study of ways in which traumatic framing can tarnish even the most exquisite of tableaux.
Using movement derived from technological influences, Michelle McClelland’s piece The Cyborgs’ “Plight” reflects upon how our fascination with technology has altered the ways in which we, as humans, interact. The work asks us to question whether our world of constant communication is deepening our connections or if we are, in fact, lonelier than ever before.
In her choreographic research, Valerie Calam has been developing a method called ‘states of the body’: an image-based physical exploration to generate movement vocabulary. Her dance, Dull Roar, embodies this research. The aim is to create a path that leads towards being present onstage where the performers are free to make decisions in the moment.
With eField, choreogapher Ruth Naomi Levin gives credence to the space around us as a catalyst for movement. A dance of polarity, reverberating impact and interpenetration, infinite directionality and singular vectors, eField invites wild, reckless negotiation of two simultaneous, autonomous charges.
Patrizia Ferlisi‘s Grand Act(s) pays homage to eccentric female vaudeville performers who challenged the norms involving gender inequality during the early 1900s. Ferlisi has created this theatrical piece in the idiom of contemporary jazz dance, to engage audiences in more ways than one.
Solo/Souls Deep by Sharon Harvey is a choreographic transformation of the Black Romantic painting Sugar Shack (1970) by artist Ernie Barnes. Harvey’s dance embodies the creative movement and character development suggested by the curves, twists and turns of the bodies in the painting. The texture of the fabric and the dancers’ skin are illuminated in a single light source that testifies to a deep embodiment of souls.
Admission to Body of Minds is $20, $15 for York University alumni, and $12 for students, seniors and arts workers. Tickets may be purchased at the Fine Arts Box Office online, by phone at 416-736-5888 or at the door.