I started dancing by learning music video routines in my living room and performing at school assemblies.
—Brett Owen, dancer and choreographer
If there's one thing Brett Owen has no shortage of, it's confidence.
The Collectors addresses issues of materialism. Leg belongs to dancer Brianna Rae Ferguson. (Kendra Hope Penner)
A Manitoba-born, Winnipeg-based contemporary dancer and choreographer, Owen is debuting his first ever Fringe production at this year's festival. Entitled The Collectors
, the show uses dance, music, and a pile of over 100 shoes to explore the notions of possession, materialism, and greed. Read: CBC's review of The Collectors
"It's a something-for-everyone kind of show," says Owen, "and I, as a person, am somewhat erratic and spontaneous, so I wanted the show to reflect my personality."
And for the young dancer, it's an opportunity to show off his talents and give the Winnipeg dance scene the "firm, swift kick in the ass" he thinks it needs.
Frustrated by stuffy, serious, and intense productions, Owen says that with The Collectors
he's trying to infuse his production with a sense of life and playfulness.
"I started dancing because I love to dance," says Owen. "For me, it's about joy, happiness, and feeling strong - sexy even - on stage. I think those are all very human things."
Owen now attends Winnipeg's prestigious School of Contemporary Dancers, and has trained in both Vancouver and New York.
Brett Owen enjoying a caffeine jolt at Parlour Coffee. (Kristen Sawatzky)
But the young artist says he hasn't always had an easy time pursuing his passion. He grew up near Carman, Manitoba, where support and opportunities to develop as a dancer were hard to come by.
"I started dancing by learning music video routines in my living room and performing at school assemblies," says Owen, "I even had a teacher tell me once that I was dancing my life away."
Since moving to Winnipeg, though, Owen has found success as a young dancer, even though our largest city is not known for its contemporary dance scene. If his inaugural production goes well, he says he might even consider staying here to pursue his career.
"It's going to be interesting to see how this goes," says Owen, "if it's well received and I feel like there's a place for this kind of work in Winnipeg - I might want to stay."Brett Owen's The Collectors plays at Venue 8 during the Winnipeg Fringe Festival.