Sunday, June 2, 2024

Dance Winners and Losers in Lyon and Paris

When I decided to attend the Lyon Dance Biennale in September 2024 at the start of a year’s sabbatical, I didn’t think I’d end up writing about the performances I saw. Ditto those I subsequently attended in Paris in early October. But something about the shows, and the cultural context in France through which I was viewing them, compelled a response—one that eventually grew into this very long review essay. However, when I pitched it to various performance studies journals for possible publication, I was asked to either radically shorten the piece or reframe it as an academic article. I wished to do neither, as I believe the present form best encapsulates my viewing experience and what I want to say about what I saw. So, rather than let the piece languish on my computer desktop, I have decided to post it to my personal website—if only as a document of an eventful three weeks of performance spectatorship. 

Folks interested in reading what I wrote can access the essay here.


Sunday, September 13, 2020

My Vancouver Dance History: September 12 Artist Salon with Justine A. Chambers

The last of the MVDH artist salons was with the amazing Justine A. Chambers, who together with Alexa Mardon gave me the vision for how to conceive of an overall structure for the book via our collaboration on the Our Present Dance Histories project (which I talk about in chapter 6).

Unfortunately, Alexa was unable to join us as she is in Amsterdam beginning her Master's. A further complication was the air quality in Vancouver on Saturday, with smoke and ash from the forest fires along the Pacific Northwest blanketing the city in an eerie and throat-choking haze. For everyone's safety we decided to forgo an in-person get-together at Morrow, with Justine and I connecting from our homes over Zoom.

Like many in Vancouver, across the country, and around the world, I could listen to Justine talk forever. Suffice to say that in these thirty-five minutes, she puts much about the strange push-pull between radical stillness and urgent assembly that we've been experiencing these past six months into brilliant perspective, including why she is re-embracing all things local. Which is super great news for this community.

While in many ways the book now feels like a document from another time (so much of what I write about has changed!), it is through conversations like these that I'm reassured of the continued and necessary dialogue on Vancouver dance that we're co-composing together.

Added bonus: some priceless Zoom bombing from Justine's son Max.

The file size of the video is once again too large to upload directly to this blog site, so you can access it here.


Saturday, September 12, 2020

My Vancouver Dance History: September 11 Artist Salon with James Gnam and Natalie LeFebvre Gnam (plastic orchid factory)

Friday's MVDH artist salon was with plastic orchid factory's James Gnam and Natalie LeFebvre Gnam. They Zoomed in from their co-op in Kits. We talked about the uncanny prescience of two pof works I discuss in the book (Digital Folk and I Miss Doing Nothing), how they and their two boys have been coping the past six months, and why despite everything they remain hopeful for the future. 

As with Tara Cheyenne's video, the file size is too big to upload here. But you can access the the Vimeo link here.

Thursday, September 10, 2020

My Vancouver Dance History: September 9 Artist Salon with Tara Cheyenne Friedenberg (Tara Cheyenne Performance)

The hilarious and fabulous Tara Cheyenne Friedenberg was in the house at Morrow yesterday "talking shit" (the name of her amazing podcast) about dance during COVID, how you turn an ensemble piece into a solo (while still retaining an ensemble ethos), and the general state of our topsy-turvy world.

The video appears to be too big to upload directly to Blogger's tired interface, so here's a link to the video on Vimeo.


Wednesday, September 9, 2020

My Vancouver Dance History: September 8 Artist Salon with Ziyian Kwan (Dumb Instrument Dance)

Yesterday I spent time chatting and hanging out with Dumb Instrument Dance's Ziyian Kwan, whom I write about (along with Action at a Distance's Vanessa Goodman, who unfortunately couldn't be with us) in Chapter 4 of the book.

Ziyian also oversees and runs Morrow, the pop-up venue at which I am hosting my book launch and artist salons this week. In the video below you get some sense of the space, including the noise from the construction that was happening next door!


Tuesday, September 8, 2020

My Vancouver Dance History: September 7 Artist Salon with Rob Kitsos

Here is my colleague, Rob Kitsos, talking about how he has adapted to teaching and creating in our new COVID-19 world: