Dance Innovations 2023: Infinite Corners, running Nov. 22 to 24 at the McLean Performance Studio, will feature 25 new choreographic works by York University fourth-year bachelor of fine arts students addressing various social issues and personal experiences.
Performed by students in all years of York’s undergraduate programs in dance, this series engages with a range of human emotions. Each piece presents a unique concept, created in collaboration between the choreographer and the dancers. With the support of the faculty to turn their creativity into a full production, the student choreographers also collaborate with lighting designers, stage crew and technicians.
The underlying motif throughout the show is an exploration of the spectrum of feelings that humans experience through the successes and hardships in life. It considers themes like climate change, feminism, emotional development and gender theory.
“As we find ourselves in a time of recuperation following the pandemic, these creators are asking: what does it mean to move forward now?” says Infinite Corners Artistic Director Tracey Norman. “How are we coming alive in our collaborative work differently? If infinite corners lead to circles and cycles, the goal of this production is to enliven the ideas, processes and narratives that are important to this group of emerging artists.”
Presented in two series – Continuous and Unbounded – the show also features a new work by Professor Susan Lee for the department’s third-year performance class.
One piece that will address difficult emotions is to move through by Gabriella Noonan, which examines the grieving process and how to grow throughout it. Dancers Megan Bagusoski, Isabella Castro, Autumn Ivan, Olivia Pereira and Colleen Wiebe will portray a depiction of grief after losing a loved one. As the dancers weave a narration of regret, nostalgia and hope, they demonstrate the possibilities of moving forward after a heartbreaking event. “With those still here around us we must find how we can move forward in a world that is missing a piece,” says Noonan.
Another piece that will highlight resilience in the face of hardship is Jemima Cummings’ Perennial. Using the metaphor of perennial flowers, Cummings’ work will demonstrate the human ability to overcome obstacles. Noting how flowers always grow back after a long and cold winter, she uses her choreography to suggest that people can also find joy after difficult moments. Performed by Isabella Castro, Alessia Di Palma, Autumn Ivan, Travis Keith, Eva Rodriguez Castro and Olivia Williams, the work encourages audiences to pursue happiness after challenging circumstances, rather than settle for mere survival. “Never stagnate in moments of utter desperation and sadness. Pick yourself back up and bloom towards the sun,” says Cummings.
Undivulged by Emma Tate will bring light to the challenges experienced by women in a patriarchal society. One of her choreographic goals is to break the stigma around problems that women face, as she and the dancers expose the less glamorous parts of being a woman. Performers Liz Cairns, Sabrina Doughty, Madelyn Moneypenny, Emily Morton, Sonya Singh, Grace Sokolow and Tehillah James use their movement to support each other through externalization of their hidden obstacles. Throughout the piece, Tate asks, “How do we move forward in a world that diminishes the female voice and body?”
Christiano DiDomenico’s Artificially Authentic questions how to find authenticity despite the influence of others. This solo work, performed in alternance by Katherine Colley and Maya Erwin, engages with the idea of personality and how one’s personality is affected or altered by the people around them. In the creation process, DiDomenico explored “social chameleon” tendencies, which he describes as the habit of changing one’s outward personality based on the expectations of others. To highlight this research, as the soloists perform the work, they are surrounded by a 15-person ensemble. The presence of the supporting dancers sets the stage for a display of self-discovery.
Déjà Vécu by Rosie Halpin also explores beliefs about human nature. In contrast to the other works, Halpin’s choreography uses a mystical lens to approach the notion of already having lived through a situation. She directed her questioning of past events toward an exploration of life after death. This piece, danced by Regan Baird, Clara Chemtov, Kerry Halpin, Annie Spence, Hanna Thakore and Andie Weir, examines the idea of reconnecting with previous iterations of oneself from an undetermined afterlife. In her process, Halpin muses, “Maybe we are all just warped versions of past selves, like a cracked mirror that distorts a reflection.”
Series A: Continuous will run from Nov. 22 to 24 at 7 p.m. Series B: Unbounded runs on the same days at 8:30 p.m.
Tickets are $15 in advance (until Nov. 19) and $22 at the door. They can be purchased through the box office at 416-736-5888 or online at ampd.yorku.ca/boxoffice.