With notes by Dancemakers' Curator Amelia Ehrhadt

Dana reflects on her residency with Dancemakers.


Dana Michel's body of work is predominantly manifested in a solo practice that is at once reflective/reflexive, both deliciously impenetrable and supremely inviting. The singular poetry of dancemaking, its special fuzzy logic, but specifically (in Michel's own words) "the bulimic logic of hip hop.” With her most recent works she delves into questions of identity that feel like the most pressing to be asked right now: how do we represent bodies, who gets to do it, and what are the codes we cannot avoid around that? By performing/inviting/representing stereotypes of blackness as a criticism of a viewing public’s inability to see anything other than her blackness, she strikes me as asking: if I give you exactly what you want can I call attention to the fact that you want it in the first place? Her rigour and depth as a performer raise the stakes on her choreography, bringing vulnerability to what could otherwise be glib, candour to what could otherwise be manipulative. In her third and final year we are inviting her to take space at Dancemakers for reflection, trying new things, and a low-risk high-flexibility environment that takes her away from an unrelenting touring and production schedule and opens space for questioning. I am thrilled to see what happens when this unparalleled artist takes time and space.


Featuring clips from Antony's recent Work-in-Progress of June 2016


Antony Hamilton’s work exists so explicitly in the visual field. My colleague Niomi Cherney, academic and dance person, gave me this definition of the word “techne”: “to bring the immaterial into determinate presence or experience through expression in some kind of language, both art and artifice.” Antony’s work rides a particular expression of this, bringing the immateriality of movement into precision and repeatability, crafted so carefully that one can only assume the decisions have significance. Watching choreography is so difficult - Yvonne Rainer’s aphorism that “dance is hard to see” will never not be a reference point of mine - and when choreographers work specifically on making things exact and repeatable I think so much about meaning. How do decisions get made? What is the reason, the language, for this sequence, this gesture, this detail? The nuance of Antony’s craftsmanship feels grammatical, but at once offering a viewer the reality that any understanding we take away from watching dance can only be partial. It can never really mean anything but our search for definition is sort of the meaning itself. Coming in for the second of his three years at Dancemakers, Antony will be completing a work started in 15/16 investigating the movement vocabulary of machines.


Andrea talks about her work and her residency aspirations


Andrea Spaziani’s works seems to point in all directions in order to highlight one. She works extensively with text, in research and in practice/production. Recently she has been occasionally performing through an alter-ego character, sometimes slipping in and out of the alter-ego mid-performance. Her work is feminist and critical of the aestheticized female body, and moves across poles like personal/political, vulnerable/powerful, didactic/impenetrable. In practice, in visual terms, her work often is slow in pace with interjections of speed, involves sustained and sequenced stillnesses, and works at a performance quality that I can best describe as absent emotionality: it is like she is having some feelings somewhere but we’re maybe not invited. She also has group works that abstract the spectacular to reductive levels (how do gold sparkly pants and four dancers dance music wind up slow?) and investigate closeness and touch.        

Amanda talks about her work and her residency aspirations 


Local artist Amanda Acorn has a deep history with Dancemakers as a former company dancer. A vital presence in the Toronto dance community as a performer, organizer, and advocate, Amanda has recently risen to quick visibility as a choreographer as well. Amanda’s emerging practice plays heavily with aesthetic, manipulating the visual field through light or installation to contextualize our                   viewing of bodies - bodies which are often                                                                                                performing highly composed scores.

Dancemakers Emerging Artist in Residence is supported by

Dancemakers' Emerging Artist-in-Residence supporter

TECHNICAL RESIDENCY: BRIAN SOLOMON, Killarney-Shebanoning, canada 

Invited to work as our third ever technical resident at Dancemakers, Brian Solomon brings his project “The NDN Way” to Dancemakers for a two-week residency in March of 2017. Bringing together noted producer / director / writer / cinematographer Cindy Bissailon and dance artist Mariana Meinke, this project collages source material from Bissailon’s 1974 documentary “The Indian Way” profiling Métis-Cree teacher/philosopher Ron Evans and his sharing of a “circle of spiritual philosophy”. Using original documentary footage as sound and video source material, Solomon will weave together this 42 year old material with life performative gesture enacted by himself and Meinke to create a visual and immersive experience dealing with historic and contemporary representations of indigineity. The NDN Way is being presented as a Danceworks CoWorks double bill and is a partnership with Native Earth Performing Arts.