Thursday, April 2, 2015

12 Minutes Max at The Dance Centre

After a little bit of a hiatus 12 Minutes Max has made a welcome return to The Dance Centre this past year. This is thanks in large measure to dancer and educator Kathryn Ricketts, who has overseen the last few Vancouver iterations of this unique process of research-creation facilitation and presentation of work-in-progress. The concept of 12 Minutes Max is that selected dance artists are given access to studio time and outside curatorial/dramaturgical eyes in order to explore and play with ideas for new work; they are then given the opportunity to present some of the results of their research before an audience at a public showing in which they have a maximum of twelve minutes of stage time.

Back in town from her new gig as a faculty member at the University of Regina, Kathryn was joined by fellow curators Kat Single-Dain and Maiko Yamamoto yesterday evening as they welcomed the artists chosen for this latest edition of 12 Minutes Max: Con8 Collective (Charlotte Newman and Georgina Alpen); Julianne Chapple; MAYCE (Robert Azevedo, Marisa Gold, and Antonio Somero); and Ziyian Kwan of dumb instrument Dance. It was great to see former students who make up MAYCE and one half of Con8 experiment in different--and very intelligent--ways with unison movement (about which there was an interesting question in the talkback), gestural repetition, and audience recognition. Julianne Chapple used an interesting ovoid steel sculpture designed by multidisciplinary artist Ed Spence to explore movement within and without its limits.

But mostly I was there to support Ziyian, who had invited me into the studio last week to witness and give feedback on some of the ideas she was exploring. Those ideas centre around love, which provides the framework for a commissioned piece that, as a duet with Noam Gagnon, will premiere later this July at the Dancing on the Edge Festival. For now, Ziyian was working on her own with various props to tackle head-on the outsized conventions and cultural cliches associated with romantic love. I won't spoil things for folks who intend to see the finished piece in July by identifying what those props are; but I will note here that they combine to contribute in multiply interesting ways to the intentionally "precarious" (Ziyian's word) movement vocabulary that Ziyian is exploring in her research.

Because love buoys you and it throws you off balance. You chase after it and sometimes it chases after you. Even if you're standing still, you can't help but feel its force--like Cupid's arrow piercing your flesh (another idea Ziyian is working with). It's been a pleasure seeing the development of these ideas, just as it was a pleasure to listen to Ziyian talk about them last night. I look forward to the next phase of the work's evolution.


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