Tristan Dobrowney at the National Arts Centre
Tristan Dobrowney has lived in Manitoba for ten years. He is a dancer with the Royal Winnipeg Ballet and is in Ottawa to bring the RWB's latest creation, Wonderland, to Prairie Scene. Tristan took time out of his busy schedule to answer Scene's five fast questions...actually Prairie Scene is keeping him so busy he only had time to answer four.
Where do you take people who are visiting Manitoba for the first time?
I take everyone to The Forks, no matter what time of the year it is always a great place. Year round there is the Forks Market which is home to a whole variety of shops carrying anything from toys and clothing to handmade jewelry and Aboriginal art.
It is really a cultural center in itself and a meeting place. In the summer it is full of buskers and there are all sorts of events and festivals that are happening day to day. In the winter, when the river has frozen they turn it into a long skating rink and people of all ages get out there and have a blast. They even set up little areas with people playing hockey so there is something for everyone.
What makes Manitoba's music scene/arts scene unique?
I think the really unique part about Manitoba's music scene and arts scene is that everyone is so connected and so supportive of their province.
The entire music scene in Winnipeg is just thriving. A number of my favourite bands are from Winnipeg or the surrounding area. We have a large cultural community in this city and province and the way that everyone is always there for each other really makes a difference. There are alot of shows and festivals that are able to collaborate on so many levels of art and music and I think that is quite amazing.
What do you want people to take away from the performance at Prairie Scene?
I hope that people will see what is happening in the Prairies and I know with this show it will showcase the Royal Winnipeg Ballet in a completely different way. Wonderland is completely out of the box and like nothing I have ever seen before in a dance show. The boundaries have been pushed in every aspect of this performance.
We are using contemporary music infused with electro-acoustic soundscaping. There is a lot of multimedia and projections that are present in this show which create the set and allow us to be more versatile and mobile with each scene. The dancing itself is very contemporary, while still have a classical base it is extremely off balance, physical and on the edge the entire time. The costumes are also completely new and exciting.
Besides it being a great gig, what are you hoping to get out of taking part in Prairie
I hope that people will come to realize what kind of potential is available in Manitoba and the Prairies and we will be able to utilize our skills throughout the country. I think that sometimes we tend to be a bit isolated which makes it hard for our artists to expand beyond the prairies and as well for other artists to come here and share what they have.
I am hoping that the Prairie Scene will help to sort of lessen any barriers that people may have had about the Prairies and show them that we are capable of so much artistically. Hopefully the Prairie Scene will stand as an example for anyone who may have had doubts about themselves or their province and will allow them to truly be free and express themselves.