VideoGearshifting Dance Works draws inspiration from John Cage
Posted by SCENE staff | Thursday November 15, 2012
Dancer Branwyn Bundon in action (Hugh Conacher)
For this work, emotion is key, it is also subtle. The emotional resonance comes through as the dancers engulf the space with specific drives of energy.
—Jolene Bailie, artistic director, Gearshifting Performance Works
Gearshifting Performance Works is presenting a new full-length work for five dancers choreographed by the company's artistic director, Jolene Bailie.
Set to the music of John Cage, Aspects of Alterity, is inspired by the geography of the prairies, the aspect of lived experience and Bailie's own relationship with the late Rachel Browne.
SCENE asked Bailie to tell us more about her latest work.
What does alterity mean? Alterity is a philosophical concept which means otherness. The concept implies the ability to assume other viewpoints.
Can you describe the physical inspiration for this show? Aspects of Alterity is a highly physical, energetic, demanding and exciting dance. The physical inspiration for the movement comes from my own memories of intangible experiences which have left inscribed imprints in my mind and body.
It is through the lived experience that we evolve as individuals and I feel that one's intangible experiences, and how one feels about them, are critical to one's identity.
What role does emotion play in its creation? For this work, emotion is key, it is also subtle. The emotional resonance comes through as the dancers engulf the space with specific drives of energy.
The sincerity of our humanness is butted against the realities of extreme challenges to create an emotional quality that is both abstract and real with qualities of love, support, guidance, leadership, trust and power.
Choreographer Jolene Bailie (Hugh Conacher)
Does Rachel Browne still have an influence on you in your work? Yes, especially in this work. With the recent passing of Rachel, I have reflected deeply on her impact on my life as a creator, dancer and a person in general.
Her attention to detail and unique musicality, her commitment to digging into her work, her respect of ideas and the imprint she has left on my soul have really affected the creation of this work.
What draws you to the music of John Cage? I have always admired John Cage. And recently, when I was working on my Masters of Fine Arts, I worked on a history presentation on Merce Cunningham, who was John Cage's life partner.
Naturally John Cage figured into the project. Out of my research for this project my interest and curiosity grew immensely. I bought a stack of CDs and continued to do some reading and research on his work.
Through my own readings and interpretations, John Cage and Rachel Browne also began to feel connected in their dedication and tenacity. I have been continuously blown away by the clear exactness of their memories of their work, memories of intangible things that were not clear in the documentation that was available, even though the documentations were the only artifacts, other than memory, of the work used in the revisiting.
This commitment to their own distinct and unique visions and their memory of how things should be and how they wanted them to be has been a key element is creating a desire and thrust for propelling the work. What's next on the horizon? Next on the horizon I am preparing a 25 minute stage version of Hybrid Human, a dance piece I created in collaboration with visual artist Wanda Koop in 2010, to tour to Toronto with a cast of five dancers in August of 2013.
Aspects of Alterity runs November 16-17 at 8 p.m. at the Gas Station Arts Centre. There will be a reception following the November 16th performance.