I’m writing this with immense joy and gratitude in my heart!
If you’ve been keeping up with this blog, you’ll know that I have been working away at this solo alone, and while I have enjoyed and learned a lot from this process thus far, I’m at a point where I need some external eyes. Last week I introduced my mother, Gillie, as a collaborator in this process for the text of this piece. I already am so enjoying having her on board, and am revelling in the text she is arranging. That said, I realize both of us need outside eyes, as any creative process needs an element of guidance.
Enter two artists who I have enormous respect, admiration, and love for; Sarah Waisvisz and Allison Burns. Given this piece is a dance-theatre work with original text, it requires guidance from both a dance perspective and a theatre/playwright perspective. Both of these women have extensive in each of these subject, respectively. It must be said also that these roles require a lot of trust, honesty, and communication. So why choose these ladies in particular? Well…
Meet Allison (on the left, wearing a faux-fur crown)!
Allison and I first met each other at Dark Horse Dance Projects‘ 2016 season, where Allison came and interviewed DHDP (which I am a team member of), and all the artists involved in the shows. Allison runs Dirty Feet Podcast, a podcast that I love that interviews dance and theatre artists about their work. Such a necessary podcast!! Allison recently moved to Ottawa from a rich career in Montréal, where she was a dancer and choreographer with work being presented in Montréal, Toronto, Edmonton, etc. and was the Artistic Producer of Bouge d’ici; a presentation platform for emerging Montréal-based choreographers. Allison and I quickly got along and not only do I respect her work, I also consider her a good friend who will be honest and kind throughout this process. Allison continues to perform and create here in Ottawa and is in process for her upcoming work ‘Do You Want To Live Forever’. Look out for upcoming fundraiser at the Gladstone Theatre on April 30th, and premiere presentation of this work at the Ottawa Fringe Festival!
Allison will be my Outside Eye. An Outside Eye, in a dance context, means she will help guide and advise the movement creation, sections for the piece, and overall structure of the work. She already has given me notes on what movements relate to the theme, and what seems out of place. I am so grateful for Allison’s kind, thoughtful, and precise way of being. Welcome Allison!!
Now, meet Sarah (on the right, wearing my Gran’s Kangol hat)!
Sarah and I met the day I was moving into her old room. I live in a house that many artists have called home over the years; Sarah being one of them for six of those years! She is a very good friend of TACTICS Artistic Director, and theatre director Bronwyn Steinburg, which has brought Sarah into our home many times; mostly to celebrate important community days in the Jewish faith, like Shabbat and Hannukah. Sarah and I have always got along, and I have also been inspired by her work.
Her most recent work ‘Monstrous’ is actually not dissimilar to this creation in terms of explores one’s cultural lineage! ‘Monstrous’, or the Miscegination Advantage is the play that Sarah wrote to accompany her PhD thesis which explores the ‘multi-culturalism’, mixed-race identity, questions of belonging, and racism in the Canadian context. It’s a gorgeous piece and Sarah journeys these topics through her cultural lineage; her Jewish and European lineage, and her Carribean/African diasporic background from West Africa. The play has an upcoming performance in Montreal in collaboration with Bodies in Difference: Race and Performance In and Beyond North America, and will have many future presentations in Eastern Canada – look out for it!
Sarah is a playwright, director, and multi-disciplinary performer who has extensive experience in theatre, physical theatre, and has been very active in the Ottawa theatre scene for many years. She has acted as a collaborator, co-writer, director, performer, Artistic Associate, among many other roles with many artists in this city. Sarah will be the Dramaturg (or theatre Outside-eye) to advise the theatrical elements of the piece. She will also be working with my Mum, Gillie, to refine and contextualize the text in relation to the structure of the choreography. Welcome Sarah!!
I am, again, grateful and excited about including these women into the process of creating ‘UKnadian’. I feel blessed to be surrounded by such incredible artists, and that those artists want to work with me. Quelle joie! I look forward to sharing more with you about how these ladies roles influence and move the work forward.
With love, Amelia xx