In the weeks until the Festival gears up, we will be featuring several GCDF dance artists here on the blog. Please join us each week as we get an intimate, behind-the-scenes glimpse into the artistry, process, and experiences these talented dancers and choreographers from across the country are bringing to this year’s Guelph Contemporary Dance Festival. We encourage you to not just read their amazing tales, but to ask questions or engage in conversation about dance in our comments section below.
This is Susan Lee, choreographer for Fall on Your Feet Collective, which performs with the GCDF at Exhibition Park in Guelph on Thursday May 31, 7pm; Saturday June 2, 12pm; and Sunday June 3, 12pm.
Susan: I’m SO delighted to be presenting my work Evocation- gentle rain falling with Guelph’s Fall on Your Feet Collective at this year’s In the Park Series. Not only will I be creating and dancing with the highly talented artists of FOYF, the opportunity to re-imagine a work originally created for the stage in the natural environment of Exhibition Park is very exciting.
As a dance maker, I love improvised dance. There is something incredibly magical in seeing dance artists create in the moment—there’s a sense of live-ness and spontaneity that is like no other performing or creative experience. As a dance maker I also love structure in a dance—shaping ideas to design a moving experience for an audience. Evocation- gentle rain falling is a structured improvisation. Its form lies in between an open improvisation and a set choreography. The dancers are directed in terms of quality of movement, direction through space, timing of events, but the actual movements performed by the dancers are created in the moment. This allows the performers to contribute to that delicate moment of creation in a very individual way. It’s sort of like writing a sonnet—there’s a form to be followed, but within that form there are endless possibilities of expression.
There have been a number of iterations of Evocation- from a workshop setting in Halifax, a performance by students at York University, to a performance by professionals at the Enwave Theatre with live music. Setting this dance in Exhibition Park will be a fresh and invigorating experience. Of course, there are challenges along the way. How does a piece live in a different setting than the one it was originally created for? What site will work? How will it be seen? Nature will be my lighting and set designer—how will this all fit together? I think the theme of the work—a meditation on the eternal oneness of the source of all things—is entirely in keeping with this new outdoor setting. And the brightly coloured, flowing costumes will look fantastic amongst the verdant green of the park. The music, by Mark Duggan, composed on Indonesian instruments, has both a resonance and a delicacy that will help create a unique and magical performance.
Lastly, I am really happy to be re-connecting with the Guelph dance community and the chance to collaborate with the like-minded artists of the Fall on Your Feet Collective. The sense of support in the Guelph Dance community is tremendous—it’s like being wrapped up in a huge love blanket.
We’ll be starting rehearsals soon…The adventure is about to begin…
Susan Lee is a Toronto-based dance artist with a longstanding interest in interdisciplinary collaboration and improvisation in performance. Susan’s professional career spans over twenty years, performing in numerous works by established Canadian choreographers across Canada, the US, Europe and Asia. She is very pleased to set her structured improvisation Evocation– gentle rain falling on Guelph’s Fall on Your Feet Dance Collective. This collective explores collaborative, improvisational movement ideas and practices and provides improvisational performance opportunities in and around Guelph. Collective members are Janet Johnson, Catrina Von Radecki, Georgia Simms, Kelly Steadman, Lynette Segal and Tanya Williams.
Performers: Yvonne Ng, Sara Coffin, Louis Laberge-Cote, Holly Small, Jessica Runge, Susanne Chui, Jacinte Armstrong, Maxine Heppner, Bee Pallomina
Musicians: Evergreen Club Contemporary Gamelan, Artistic Director Blair Mckay
Choreographer: Susan Lee
Composer: Mark Duggan
Performed at the Enwave Theatre, Toronto November 2006