York dance talent erupts with 19 premieres

A volcanic showcase of original works created by York’s rising dance-makers blasts into the Maclean Performance Studio in the Accolade East Building at York University Nov. 24-26.

Dancer: Laura Armstrong

Dance Innovations 2016: SPACE erupting premieres solos, duets and ensemble works that have been choreographed by fourth-year Dance majors, performed by students from all levels of the undergraduate program.

“Expect to experience a burst of fresh ideas, points of view, physicalities, creative choreographic structures, movement invention and tradition,” said faculty member Julia Sasso, who serves as artistic director for the production together with Dance Professor Modesto Amegago.

“Our choreographers delve into a wide range of concepts and subject matter with curiosity, daring, wit and rigour – igniting and cultivating generous interpretations of their creative imaginations.”

SPACE erupting features 19 distinctive new works by the young dance artists. Here’s a selection:

Skinship by Marissa Trarback investigates the bond created through touch and the complexities of the mother-daughter relationship, moving through cycles of guarding and condemning, chastising and adoring, confronting and understanding.

Robyn Bedford’s dance tri-gger suggests a desolate environment spurring alienation between the self and those around, with visceral disruptions prompting disorientation and interdependence. In Joshua Murphy’s Chasm, a profound space has grown between two people. Will we stand tethered yet separate on opposing sides, or throw ourselves headlong into the darkness to become one?

Kiera Shaw
“A Hidden Autobiography” choreographed by Kiera Shaw

Kiera Shaw’s A Hidden Autobiography is a deconstructed duet comprising a pair of highly physical solos that explore the emotional states that surface during pivotal life moments, and the shift in negative space that occurs when a dance for two becomes a dance for one.

Inspired by the film Koyaanisqatsi [Life out of Balance], Hannah Brandon’s trio explores the discovery of a new way of life. Julianna Velocci asks: Are we alone in this vast universe or is there more out there than meets the eye? Her dance Beyond is a celestial journey into the depths of space that seeks to challenge the myth surrounding otherworldly life forms.

In her piece, Creatures of Curiosity, Dakota Stevenson considers curiosity as the foundation and motivation for learning from one another and becoming more attuned to oneself. With Forget Me Not, Abbie Brown demonstrates the longevity as well as the transience of memory, investigating the science behind memory and how memories are captured.

Paige Sayles
“Pepper My Ragu” choreographed by Paige Sayles

Paige Sayles’ Pepper My Ragu takes on the stereotyping of female sexuality. In a world where women are condemned for being too sexy and ridiculed for not being sexy enough, this dance invites women to explore, provoke and stimulate outside of the male gaze.

What does chemistry have to do with dance? Inspired by the molecule commonly referred to as TNT, Rufino Rodriguez’ explosive trio Trinitrotoluene explores the science behind the BOOM! Embracing water as a driving force of nature, Juliana Roman’s Shallow Waters paints the movement of pooling water, delicate yet resilient.

With Devine Commodity, Rachel Hornick looks at life’s biggest challenge: overcoming ourselves, our fears of the unknown, and what it means to be ‘normal’. Jessica Ortaleza’s piece This is Living explores self-doubt. Sometimes a single unremarkable encounter marks the beginning of everything that will matter and make living extraordinary.

The show opens with excerpts of two works choreographed by Amegago. Adzohu and Kpanlogo erupt in the space with traditional and unique embodied dance and music rhythms.

Dance Innovations: SPACE erupting is a two-part program running Thursday, Nov. 24 and Friday, Nov. 25 at 7pm (Program A) and 8:30pm (Program B), and on Saturday, Nov. 26 at 1pm (Program A) and 2:30pm (Program B). Performances take place in the McLean Performance Studio, 244 Accolade East Building on York’s Keele campus. Admission is $18 for each program, or $12 for advance purchase by Nov. 20. Tickets are available through the Box Office.