FLOWCHART, A SERIES OF MULTI-DISCIPLINARY PERFORMANCE

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February 20 & 21, 2019

With Nikola Steer, Oliver Husain & Jasmyn Fyffe/Alicia Nauta

Dancemakers Centre for Creation, Theatre Studio 314, Toronto’s Distillery Historic District

$15 for Arts Workers/Seniors/Students & $20 for the General Public

No service charges!

On sale on-line here until 12 Noon day of performance and then at the Door - box office opens at 7:15 pm

Please consider supporting Dancemakers by making a donation here


A conversation with the November 14 & 15, 2018 artists: Carol Anderson, Lara Kramer and Sarah Aiken.

Carol, you’ve had a long association with Dancemakers, as one of the founding members (45 years ago!) and a former Artistic Director. Most recently you’ve been back as a Resident Artist during our winter residency and now showing work at Flowchart. How has this long relationship with the organization shaped your artistic practice?
Big question Amelia! Dancemakers was foundational to me in many ways that continue to nourish my practice. I am thrilled - and surprised - to be at Dancemakers again …
Dancemakers was started in 1974 as a summer project – with an “Opportunities for Youth” grant – these were an initiative of Pierre Trudeau’s government. Andrea Ciel Smith and Marcy Radler started the company – Marcy quickly moved on to other pursuits. After the first summer Andrea travelled to New York City to study – she soon worked with Louis Falco’s company, and later with the Martha Graham company. The other dancers in that first company kept it going. But it always kept this sense of flow and change – which I believe is intrinsic to the company’s character.
The 1970s were the heyday of collectives. This was true of Dancemakers. We made decisions collectively about what repertory to dance, who would be in the company, what choreographers to work with, what programs to present, where to tour – everything to do with the company. Our training was eclectic. At the time, the only consistent modern dance training in the city was at York U (many of us were graduates of the dance program) and TDT. As young dancers we frequently travelled to the US for summer dance intensives – I studied with the Limón company, and Jennifer Mueller’s company, as well as with Nora Guthrie and Ted Rotante, and later worked with them in New York. We brought back our newly acquired knowledge – and taught what we knew. This model of study, mining new knowledge and paying it forward stemmed from those early Dancemakers days – I do this still.
We had an “all is possible - just do it” kind of curiosity and attitude that was very attractive to lots of choreographers. Bob Cohan – then AD of London Contemporary Dance Theatre – gave us a work he’d created at York U called “Forest” – and later worked with us on a new commission. Norman Morrice, soon to become the Royal Ballet’s AD, also gave us a wonderful work, “Fools in the Palace”. Anna Blewchamp created some of her signature witty work with us – as well as her classic “Arrival of All Time.” So we worked with established choreographers, and also with a number of young Canadian choreographers who were just starting out – among them Karen Jamieson, Jennifer Mascall, Paula Ravitz, Judith Marcuse.
I can’t separate what I carry forward from some of the actual works we did – which were very fine and challenging – aesthetic openness, the recognition of and aspiration to high quality, ecelecticism – all these stemmed from these early years.
Dancemakers was my ‘dance house’ – a consistent place to be, to work, to take class, to study and perform – a LOT – to work with a group, to make dances, to dance a wide scope of wonderful work – original and remounted - that stretched us all artistically.
Working with a company consistently seems for the most part – not available for dancers now – giving the project to project way in which most choreographers work. It’s a totally different experience to dance a work for four nights – or to dance a work time and time again over weeks and years of performance and touring. There are aspects of stagecraft – I believe – that can only be acquired experientially – and I wish there were more opportunities for the kind of long association many dancers enjoyed with Dancemakers.
I was a co-artistic director and then artistic director of Dancemakers. I was guided – despite myself! – toward learning how to lead, how to plan – whether a program, a tour, a season - how to make a strategic plan, how to work with a board, management, volunteers, officers of cultural agencies, and other artists – choreographers, dancers, composers, musicians. These are pretty good things to know. Over time the company dancers were younger and differently trained … flexibility, continuity, possibility – eclectic, open, creative ground – lots of work with new music
Well – I could go on and on …
We danced in a lot of different situations in Toronto and on tour– huge proscenium stages, lunchtime black boxes, many hundreds of school gymnasiums, studios – one year we did a prison tour, dancing in prison chapels and community rooms – on tile, carpet, concrete, beautiful wood floors – the whole spectrum.
Ways forward – One of the key ones is a dispensation toward finding new ways to approach things or look for ways to accomplish goals and realize ideas – whether they are creative or practical. I’m coming back now to a more active creative practice after a long time being consumed with teaching in academia. I’m not so interested in production on stages now as in finding alternative ways and places to create and perform. Galleries and gardens have my attention. Garden Dancing is a new passion that combines my love of nature and nurture, and being in motion – integrating music and place and space. The lighting is always great and the audience has agency – it’s not fixed. To me this somewhat democratic ideal, along with my desire to do and see dance in public spaces – have roots in Dancemakers’ collective roots.
We were fortunate to often work with composers – Michael J. Baker, Henry Kucharzyk, Ahmed Hassan, all wrote commissioned scores for us in early years. Collaboration and commissions were cornerstones of the company’s creative activity. Dancemakers brought an astonishing array of new works of dance and music to the stage, and this idea of original creation has stayed with me. I yearn to work in this way still.
The desire and the doing – not separating these too much. Not worrying about money so much that lack of funds stops a creative desire – finding ways to make things happen. These are in my creative approach, and definitely stem back to Dancemakers ongoing identity as a feisty, creative entity. We danced about ideas – I loved this sense of a group of dancers with shared purpose and ideals. I still do.
Lara, your work portrays “the brutal relations between Indigenous peoples and colonial society” and has toured pretty extensively. Could you speak a bit about your experience of performing in different locations? How does it change across Canada and throughout the world?
Performing my work in different communities in Canada and abroad has allowed me to experience different reactions to my work. Where ever I go I feel a kinship and mutual understanding with Indigenous people and communities. We don’t necessarily share a culture but we do share a colonizer.

When the whole of mainstream culture has been set up it flourish, there is no need to exercise rejecting it. To execute a paradigm shift settler culture would have to fundamentally reject large parts of itself. So it seems. Erasure of Indigenous culture has been prolific in Canada and continues to be. Seeing and working among other colonial systems has made me feel how much more disastrous Canada is. It is an apartheid system. The current notion of reconciliation is a form of continued erasure of Aboriginal title to land. This is the conflict I feel that I’m in, in relation to my work and daily life. Up against multiple forms of erasure. I’m not reconciling myself to Canada, Canada has to reconcile itself to me.
Sarah, your work hasn’t been seen here in Toronto before and we have the luck of catching you as you’re coming through the region! I had the pleasure of meeting you at ImPulsTanz and getting to know your curious and distinct work. Could you tell our readers a bit about your practice and what you’ll show at Flowchart?
I’m based in Naarm/Melbourne, Australia on unceded Kulin Nations land, I’m so excited to come to Toronto, our countries have many similarities, especially around our violent colonial histories and the conversations around sovereignty, so I think we have a lot to learn from each other, especially from our respective First Nations people. Its so amazing to be able to share work internationally and have the opportunity to meet artists and audiences, I’m so looking forward to it! My work straddles the absurd and representational, playing with perception to reimagine perspective and scale, while revealing the devices that facilitate this manipulation. I’m often trying to shift how we value the body and repurposing objects or technologies & B-grade theatrical illusions. I’m interested in the intangibility of dance, the body’s potential for inconsistency & paradox and I like to focus on this in relation to the literal nature of recognizable objects, so we notice the human amongst the constructed, the ‘real’ within the illusion. By distorting & manipulating perspectives the work balances the delicate divide between abstract forms & obvious & overt metaphors, between the elusive performer & the relatable human being. I’ve also been working for a while on explorations into the extension and expansion of self, as well as how external pressures move body, ethics and identity, attempting to understand, undermine and reinforce the factors influencing these drivers. I am exploring experiences where the body is magnified to become huge, cumbersome, powerful and conversely shrunken, weak, ineffectual or even invisible.

MORE ABOUT THE FLOWCHART ARTISTS

Carol Anderson, TORONTO - cANADA

Carol started her performing career with pioneer Judy Jarvis’ first dance/theatre company, and was a founding member of Toronto’s Dancemakers. A noted dance writer, Carol began to chronicle Canadian dance in the late 1980s, and often works with Dance Collection Danse, Canada’s dedicated dance archives. Her body of writing to date includes biographies, collections, notes, articles, online resources and Still Dances, a first book of poetry; other writing includes a cultural history/cookbook, Lunch with Lady Eaton. Since the mid-1970s Carol has choreographed and taught in numerous professional, educational and community settings across Canada, and her work has been recognized with grants, commissions and awards including the Queen’s Jubilee Medal. Senior Scholar and Professor Emerita of York University’s Department of Dance, she continues to move, make, and write dance. Recent performances of site-specific work dovetailing her love of gardens, art, words and motion include Dance in the Garden in the Oeno Gallery Sculpture Garden in Prince Edward County, Canada Square at Harbourfront, and the Rose Garden at Glendon College, hosted by the Canadian Language Museum in 2017.


Lara Kramer, MontréaL - CAnada

Lara is a choreographer and multidisciplinary artist of mixed Oji-Cree and settler heritage. Her critically acclaimed works portray the contrast of the brutal relations between Indigenous peoples and colonial society, and have been presented across Canada and even in Australia. These include Fragments (2009), inspired by her mother’s stories of being in residential school, and Native Girl Syndrome (2013), about how Native women have internalized trauma. Windigo (2018) can be viewed as its masculine counterpart, where trauma is externalized through different ages and bodies, individuals and objects. Based on a theatrical vocabulary and her Indigenous roots, Lara Kramer’s work employs narration and powerful imagery. Often blunt and raw, playing with the strengths and weaknesses of the human spirit, her pieces stand out for their engagement, sensitivity, close and instinctive listening to the body, and her attention to the invisible. Lara was awarded the Scholarship of Audacity - Caisse de la culture from the OFFTA in Montreal 2014, and has been recognized as a Human Rights Advocate through the Montreal Holocaust Memorial Centre in 2011. Lara has participated in several residencies including Dancemakers Artist in Residency for 3 years.

Sarah Aiken, MELBOURNE - AUSTRALIA

Sarah is a performer, choreographer and teacher based in Melbourne (Naarm), Australia. She is a Victoria College of the Arts graduate and a 2017 danceWEB scholar (Impulstanz, Vienna). Sarah’s work investigates the roles of audience, performer, subject and object, employing repurposed materials, large objects & theatrical illusions to distort & manipulate perspectives connecting tangibly with audiences to consider performance as a site for community, for empathy & social exchange. Choreographic work includes SARAH AIKEN (Tools for Personal Expansion)(Keir Choreographic Award 2016, Metro Arts 2017), SET (Dancehouse Residency 2015), Three Short Dances (Les Plateaux de la Briqueterie. Paris 2015, KCA 2014), Set (Piece’s for Small Spaces 2013, EDC Solo Festival of Dance 2014). Ongoing collaboration with Rebecca Jensen has produced Underworld (Darebin Arts/Speakeasy 2017, Supercell 2017), OVERWORLD (Next Wave 2014, Dance Massive 2015) and participatory project Deep Soulful Sweats (Next Wave 2014, Dark MOFO 2014, Brisbane Festival 2016, Perth Fringe 2017, MEL-NYC 2018) as well as a range of solo, collaborative and interdisciplinary projects across education, music, live art, film and visual arts.

Location

Dancemakers Centre for Creation, Theatre Studio 314, Toronto’s Distillery Historic District

TICKETS

  • $15 for Arts Workers/Seniors/Students & $20 for the General Public

  • No service charges!

  • On sale on-line here until 12 Noon day of performance and then at the Door - box office opens at 7:15 pm

  • Please consider supporting Dancemakers by making a donation here


About Flowchart

Flowchart is a series of multidisciplinary performance presenting short works by artists engaging with the choreographic from the perspective of multiple fields; work which pays attention to organizing movement in space and having it be affected by/also itself affect time. By contextualizing non-dance works within and alongside the choreographic, an engagement with these ideas becomes newly visible. Flowchart is interested in works that centralize the body and offers a curiosity about what happens to non-dance works when they are presented in the scope of a field that inevitably does so.

Flowchart encourages artists to approach their process in a way that is new to them, and offers a platform for experimentation.

Flowchart began as a studio series in 2014 and has grown into a robust recurring series, now housed at Dancemakers, offering a critically needed resourced and supported presentation platform for artists.

upcoming performances

February 20 & 21 at 8 pm

Nikola Steer, Oliver Husain, and Jasmyn Fyffe/Alicia Nauta

May 22 & 23 at 8 pm

Kate Nankervis/Ann Trépanier, & Life of a Craphead