Thursday, 28 May 2015

Stretch Your Boundaries with Julia Garlisi

We want you to have the inside scoop, so in the weeks leading up to the 2015 Guelph Dance Festival, the artists will take you behind the scenes and you will hear from the Co-Artistic Directors about their creative vision. You can stretch your boundaries and unleash your imaginations before the Festival even starts! So go ahead, follow your instincts and read on...

This week on the blog, local dancer and choreographer Julia Garlisi shares a few words about her artistic process in creating the piece she will perform at Stage A. Get your tickets for the performance on Friday June 5 at 8pm through the River Run Centre Box Office!

Julia
I would love to extend my deepest gratitude to the Guelph Dance Festival for programming my work on Stage A this year. The Festival has played a significant role in my career as a performer and creator. I appreciate the years of support and growing opportunities. It feels so exhilarating to be amongst such talented and inspirational dance artists during the Festival. This truly will be an experience that I will treasure for a lifetime.
Photo of Julia Garlisi by John Lauener.
David Earle gave me a CD about four years ago that contained the music for my piece. Instantly, I was captivated by the title of the music “Piece from the Year 1981” because that is the year I was born. When I listened to the music it was haunting, intense, and a little too big for me at that time. I loved it but I couldn’t do anything with it. I knew at some point I would attempt to create something with it, but it just wasn’t the right time for me. I listened to the music occasionally and then put it in my music library for future use.

I had a couple of weeks off this past August. My goal was to use the time wisely and create a piece or at least plan a potential project. Music is always my inspiration to create movement so l began to look through my music library. It had been well over a year since I listened to “Piece from the Year 1981”. I played the song, sat in my chair, and let my mind wander. What I heard somehow sounded so different from what I remembered. The music hit me and came to life in a whole new way. I could feel and see what I wanted to create with this piece. From that moment I knew that this is what I needed to work on. With absolutely zero expectations, zero judgments, and zero pressure I gave myself three weeks to “play” and create. In three days my piece was composed. It came out of me quite magically and effortlessly. Since then I have refined and readjusted certain moments but the structure has remained the same.
Photo of Julia Garlisi by Jennifer Scime.
The title of the music was influential in the creative process of this piece. It inspired the work and movement phrases. I decided that it had to be the title for my piece as well. I only changed out one word to make it more personal for my narrative. “Piece for the Year 1981” became my own intimate journey to authenticity.

Tickets for Stage A, featuring Julia Garlisi, can be purchased now through the River Run Centre Box Office. Interested in several shows? Purchase a Theatre Pass (3 shows) or Stage Pass (2 shows) and save up to 15%! Let's make sure these incredible artists have a full house!

Wednesday, 20 May 2015

Unleash Your Imagination with Toy Guns Dance Theatre

We want you to have the inside scoop, so in the weeks leading up to the 2015 Guelph Dance Festival, the artists will take you behind the scenes and you will hear from the Co-Artistic Directors about their creative vision. You can stretch your boundaries and unleash your imaginations before the Festival even starts! So go ahead, follow your instincts and read on...

This week on the blog, we hear from key members of Toy Guns Dance Theatre, who will be surprising and delighting you in the three Park performances at this year's Festival. Coming all the way from Edmonton, they are a special treat you won't want to miss! 

Toy Guns Dance Theatre was founded by an engineer, a business student, and an artist. But since no one but engineers likes to talk to engineers, here are words from the other two.

Don't they look like they're having so much fun? You will too! See Toy Guns perform this piece June 4, 6 and 7! Photo by Marc J Chalifoux.












From the mouth/fingers of Jake W Hastey (Artistic Director):
I would love to talk about our show, as it is dear to my heart or more accurately my broken and beaten heart circa 2009. Of course the show has transformed from the moment of inspiration, not in the least because of the amazing team that will be performing it. Toy Guns Dance Theatre consists of a company with extensive backgrounds in various forms of dance, theatre, music, and even engineering. Each cast member brings something unique to the table that ultimately informs each of our works. This collaboration is instrumental in creating the multilayered and evolving work that we are fortunate to be touring across Canada this year. We are so excited to be presented by Guelph Dance Festival and can’t wait to see you in June!
You must've seen this dancer before - she leaped right onto our Festival poster! Photo by Marc J Chalifoux.











From the styled coif of Richelle Thoreson (Executive Director/Dancer):
After one performance of “Bright Lights...” an audience member said that they laughed, they cried, they killed a mosquito, and then they laughed some more. The show is audience interactive in addition to featuring beautifully performed choreographed sequences. The Edmonton Examiner wrote, “From raucous laughter to gentle tears, Bright Lights Cold Water serves as a demonstration of the power of choreography for illustrating concepts and emotions that words simply cannot express. It was an emotional experience for the entire cast”. I am so thrilled to perform this summer in Guelph and have a chance to see all the amazing artists performing at the Guelph Dance Festival!

Want a quick preview? Here’s a time lapse video of the show’s premier in Government House Park in Edmonton, AB! 
The Park series, featuring Toy Guns Dance Theatre, is pay-what-you-can, suggested donation of $15. Don't carry cash? Pay online ahead of time!

Tuesday, 12 May 2015

Stretch Your Boundaries with Janet Johnson


We want you to have the inside scoop, so in the weeks leading up to the 2015 Guelph Dance Festival, the artists will take you behind the scenes and you will hear from the Co-Artistic Directors about their creative vision. You can stretch your boundaries and unleash your imaginations before the Festival even starts! So go ahead, follow your instincts and read on...

This week on the blog, we hear from Janet Johnson of Portal Dance Project, who is remounting a favourite piece to be featured at our Festival Kickoff and In the Studio offering. Get your tickets for the 4pm or 7pm performance on Saturday May 23 through our website! Entrance to this event is free to Festival pass holders, and tickets include the drinks and snacks provided at the reception. 

Janet: First off I want to deeply thank the Eden Mills Writers’ Festival for approaching me to bring back my piece, The Hands of the Beautiful Swimmers, for both the Guelph Dance Festival as well as the EMWF this September. It was a lovely surprise to be asked to remount the work created 16 years ago when I was in a different space, place, and time: in 1999, The Hands of the Beautiful Swimmers was performed in Toronto as part of DanceWorks at the Enwave Theatre, as well as part of Peterborough New Dance and in Guelph. This remount also gives me an opportunity to finally have the exquisite poet, Steven Heighton, come to Guelph to deliver his poetry live.

So hand in hand with dance comrades Kelly Steadman and Julia Garlisi, both of whom I greatly appreciate and admire, we jumped in on this journey to remount this piece, for which I only had vhs and cassette recordings. I knew how it felt but not how to get back to that place 16 years later. 16 years was a lifetime ago...I had just given birth to my second baby, Kieran and like when I had had my first baby, Dakota, I felt a huge surge of creativity and a strong need to delve into a creative process. 16 years ago I had just left my dance partnership with Denise Duric and our shared company, Pedestrian Waltz Dance Project and had recently moved from Toronto to the Guelph area. With The Hands of the Beautiful Swimmers (originally called Surrender), I was finding my choreographic footing, working out of my new community, and melding my two favourite art forms: dance and writing. How to start this journey, how to find a re-entry point? 

Photos of pieces by and with Janet Johnson, from bottom left: The Chrysalis Project, Lynette Segal's Spontaneous Order, David Earle's Ray Charles Suite, and This Side of Light.
I decided to ask my dance partner of many, many years, who has seen me through thick and thin and watched me weather many dance challenges, to help me unveil the work. Catrina von Radecki, improvisation teacher extraodinaire and one of the ORIGINAL The Hands of the Beautiful Swimmers dancers, lead us through an absolutely riveting, intense, and shockingly truthful journey into the heart of the piece with great clarity and poignancy. In that hour-long improvisation, time as we commonly know it altered and the selves that we exist in regularly slipped away, revealing the beauty, heartache, and wonder of the work. I think we all, mouth agape, spent hours afterwards trying to digest this great manner of stepping into the work, being part of a story that was waiting for us. I am immensely grateful for Catrina’s key, the dancers’ ripe enthusiasm and this opportunity to move back into The Hands of the Beautiful Swimmers.

Tickets for the Festival Kickoff/In the Studio event are very limited! Get them ahead of time through our website to avoid disappointment at the door!

Wednesday, 6 May 2015

Unleash Your Imagination with Tony Chong

We want you to have the inside scoop, so in the weeks leading up to the 2015 Guelph Dance Festival, the artists will take you behind the scenes and you will hear from the Co-Artistic Directors about their creative vision. You can stretch your boundaries and unleash your imaginations before the Festival even starts! So go ahead, follow your instincts and read on...

This week on the blog, we hear from Tony Chong, who is part of the star-studded line-up for Stage A. Get your tickets for the performance on Friday June 5 at 8pm through the River Run Centre Box Office!

TonyLa Belle au bois dormant and Le Petit Chaperon are stirring in the forest, so it must be spring once again. Lucie Vigneault, Mark Eden-Towle, and myself, along with our enchanting rehearsal director Ami Shulman, are awakening the female beast in this shortened version of D├ęsillusions de l’enchantement (sans Neige Bleue with the amazing Carol Prieur). The world of fairy tales is not always what we think within our modern age of instantaneous satisfaction of Facebook, Instagram, and Tinder. The stories of na├»ve, innocent young women and gallant princes are to be re-evaluated and questioned, revealing less virtuous truths and underlying desires.  
Photo of Lucie Vigneault by Tony Chong.
We are in the studio finding ourselves weaving in this brew of thick succulent sexual tension so it will be ready for this hot sticky summer. We are immersing ourselves physically and emotionally to dance the layers of psychological taboos that reveal a suppressed societal truth of ourselves. With this gang of incredible talent in the room, we are having a great time challenging the readings of classic children’s fairy tales. We can’t wait to present this trio and duo to you all on June 5, 2015 in Guelph!

Tickets for Stage A, featuring Tony Chong, can be purchased now through the River Run Centre Box Office. Interested in several shows? Purchase a Theatre Pass (3 shows) or Stage Pass (2 shows) and save up to 15%!