Tuesday, 26 April 2016

Festival Artist Spotlight: Swashbuckling Fun with Frog in Hand

This week's Artist Spotlight blog is guest-authored by Colleen Snell, artistic director of Frog in Hand. The company performs its new work Dragon in the In the Park series, at Exhibition Park on Thursday, June 2nd, 7 pm; Saturday, June 4th, 12 pm; and Sunday, June 5th, 12 pm; and at our new park location, Hanlon Creek Park, on Friday, June 3rd, 5:30 pm.

Frog in Hand is a multidisciplinary and site-specific performance company based in Mississauga, Ontario. We mix dance and theatre with visual art, costume and design. Last year we performed our 1920s inspired piece,
Café Noisette, for the In the Park series with the Guelph Dance Festival. This year we are thrilled to return with another exciting production, Dragon.

The Production
Dragon is the timeless story of two knights on a quest to slay a dragon, yet it is no traditional fight between good and evil. When these knights find their dragon, they do not encounter the beast they expect. After a struggle, they learn the consequences of their violent acts; they redefine the meaning of courage and realize the redemptive power of empathy. Our production is an epic legend blending swordplay with dance, magnificent costumes and immersive set design. Damian Norman (dancer, actor), Colleen Snell (dancer, certified actor combatant) and Andy Ingram (certified actor combatant and fight director) bring this tale to life while Joe Pagnan (lighting/set designer) and Noelle Hamlyn (textile artist, costume designer) construct and design the visuals. 

The plot of our production is simple, yet deeper metaphors lie beneath this recognizable exterior. Dragon manipulates a traditional legend as a way of studying greed, humanity’s strained relationship with nature, the power of movement to cross borders between cultures and the overarching importance of myth and archetype in defining a collective human identity. Oh – this is of course in addition to swashbuckling fun, breathtaking feats of physical prowess and spine tingling thrills.

The Process
Dragon was created for the Off the Wall project, a multi-arts event Frog in Hand organized in collaboration with the Living Arts Centre and the Art Gallery of Mississauga. Off the Wall 2015 involved twenty-three artists of all disciplines who worked in five teams to create original, site-specific performances. While Damian, Joe, Colleen, Noelle and Andy had worked together previously they had never worked all together in one group. Andy and Joe had never even met! This creative team had three 7-hour days to devise an original show for the grand staircase in the Living Arts Centre. The work premiered on the fourth day.

Everyone was challenged and surprised by this project as we encountered our characters and crafted our story. Noelle and Joe were confronted with the task of creating the dragon tail (constructed with metal hoops), and transforming the staircase into the dragon’s nest. Damian learned sword work with Andy, who choreographed the fight sequences. Colleen physically researched how a dragon might move and interact. Together we questioned and built a narrative arc, fusing our professional perspectives as actors, dancers, visual artists, and fight choreographers into one project. Certainly the pressure of time was stressful, yet it was also helpful – providing urgency to our process and making each decision count. The work was a hit with our audience, who told us they liked the exciting music, breathtaking action and moving storyline. We’ve since reworked and revisited the piece, performing it in Kitchener for Night/Shift2015. We are thrilled to bring Dragon to Guelph, and can’t wait to share it with new audiences for the In the Park series.

Video below shows excerpts from 'Off the Wall.' You'll easily find 'Dragon!' Take a look.

 Full Festival schedule can be viewed on our website. So much great contemporary dance in four amazing days!

Friday, 15 April 2016

Guelph Dance Defines Gravity in the 18th Annual Guelph Dance Festival!

We are thrilled to announce the lineup for the 18th Annual Guelph Dance Festival, June 2-5, 2016. Bigger and better than ever, Guelph Dance will host 18 dance companies in 9 performances in 5 venues! We promise to define gravity in new ways this season, with dances on ice to dances in trees. We know there is something for everyone, with ticket prices ranging from, well, FREE to $30.

Here’s a little taste of what’s on offer this year. We encourage you to read the full details on our website
The wildly-popular, pay-what-you-can In the Park series features four companies this year:

·  Aeriosa, from Vancouver, performs “Birds Land Too,” a part-aerial, part-land piece that is derived from the behavior of birds
(photo right: Nicholas Podbrey)
·   Ferenc Feher travels from Hungary to perform “Tao Te,” an explosive male duet
·   Mississauga-based Frog in Hand brings “Dragon,” a piece that includes theatrical sword work
·   the local Hidden Heart Collective performs “Oblivion Shift,” exploring missed connections

These four companies perform in Exhibition Park on Thursday, June 2 at 7:00 pm, Saturday, June 4 at 12:00 pm, and Sunday, June 5 at 12:00 pm, and – new this year - at Hanlon Creek Park on Friday, June 3 at 5:30 pm.

The On the Stage shows take place on two different stages this year: the Cooperator’s Hall at River Run Centre and the University of Guelph’s Gold Ice Rink. Ticket prices range from $15-30.

· Le Patin Libre, a Montreal-based ice skating dance troupe, is featured in On the Stage A, on Friday, June 3, 8 pm. Performing at the University of Guelph’s Gold Ice Rink, this company exploits the idea of glide in its full-length piece “Vertical Influences.” (Photo right: Le Patin Libre (Alicia Clarke)

·  Julia Sasso dances (Toronto) and Suzanne Miller & Allan Paivio Productions (Montreal), both long-time members of Canada’s professional dance community, perform in On the Stage B, Saturday, June 4, 8 pm (River Run Centre). Sasso’s group performs “Sporting Life,” a piece that mirrors our fragilities and perverse lust for violence. Miller & Paivio bring “The Water Project: THIRST,” which reflects on the perilous crisis of water as a global issue.
Sara Porter is featured at our In the Studio event, taking place at the Guelph Youth Studios on Saturday, June 4, at 4:00 pm. In this intimate performance, sure to sell out quickly, Porter performs “Sara does a Solo,” a fearless account of an aging body and reflective mind. Ticket prices range from $15-20. (Photo right: Sara Porter (Tamara Romanchuk)

Local Initiatives
, Guelph Dance’s commitment to fostering the local dance community, features Capacitance, a multidisciplinary, improvisational performance produced and curated by Guelph dancer Lynette Segal. The show takes place on Sunday, June 5, at 2:00 pm at the Guelph Youth Studios, and is pay-what-you-can.

Festival favourite, YouthMoves, features 9 youth dance companies from across Southern Ontario in a professionally-produced performance at the River Run Centre, Sunday, June 5, at 4:00 pm. Youth Moves is the place to see the next generation of dance artists in action, before they’re famous! Tickets range from $15-20.

There are several educational opportunities throughout the Festival, including free post-show chats following In the Studio and Local Initiatives; a free pre-showchat facilitated by Sara Porter before On the Stage B; an ice dance workshop with Le Patin Libre at 9:30 am on Saturday, June 4 ($20); a workshop in Skinner Releasing Technique with Julia Sasso at 9:30 am on Sunday, June 5 ($20); Youth Dance Day on Friday, June 3, with a full afternoon and evening of dance activities ($32); and Teen Dance Day on Saturday, June 4, with a full morning and afternoon of dance activities ($45).
Photo Below: Dance Market (Lydia Summerlee)
The fun and interactive Dance Market is back at Exhibition Park this year, following the Saturday and Sunday In the Park performances. Stick around after the show to participate in short demos given by area movement practitioners. It's the perfect way to try out yoga, pilates, gyrokinesis, and more!

Tickets for all ticketed events, including workshops and youth and teen dance day, can be purchased through the River Run Centre Box Office (
www.riverrun.ca; 519-763-3000). In the Park, Dance Market, and Local Initiatives are all pay-what-you-can events. More information about the gravity-defining 18th Annual Guelph Dance Festival can be found on our website at www.guelphdance.ca.  Mark your calendars and purchase your tickets now so you don’t miss Guelph’s premier dance event of the year!

Look for our poster around town! Thanks to Gareth Lind for the design. 
Photo: Julia Sasso dances (Nicole Rivelli)

Tuesday, 22 March 2016

Coming to Love Contemporary Dance - in Three Minutes!

This month's post is by guest blogger musician Bry Webb, writing about how he came to love contemporary dance. Give it a read....then go see the show he's talking about: Short & Sweet, part of Kazoo Fest 2016, Friday, April 8, 10:30 pm at The Making Box, 40 Baker Street, Guelph.

Why Short & Sweet Rules by Bry Webb

I know something about contemporary dance.

For some reason, that fact distinguishes me from a fair amount of people.  Dance as performance is a thing that relatively few get to see, compared to other contemporary art forms, like documentary films on the Earth being doomed and/or messages drawn on the back windows of unwashed cars.  Even the automated installations of Janet Cardiff and George Bures Miller, or Claire Rojas’ subversive street abstractions, stay in place long enough for an audience to gather.  Contemporary dance, due largely to the fact that it’s underfunded, misunderstood in mainstream culture, and rarely covered in media outlets with substantial circulation, is kind of hard to catch, in an era when pretty much everything comes to you.

I take no credit for knowing something about this art form.  When I lived in Montreal, I met a person who had spent her life studying, contributing to, and challenging the conventions of the medium, and she took me to see many of the best, and some of the worst, performances I’ve ever seen, in a city that is unquestionably the mecca for this kind of art in Canada.  Through her, I had a leg up towards catching what was really happening in contemporary dance, and feeling that it was approachable for a music-loving, music-obsessed music nerd. 

One of the key events that helped me figure out what I loved about contemporary dance was the perennial celebration, Short & Sweet, invented and curated by the go-getters at Wants & Needs Danse.   For one night only, Short & Sweet collects as many of the dance community’s current geniuses as possible, and asks them to do whatever they can with THREE MINUTES. Lighting, a stage, and an audience are provided, and choreographers/performers make their most concise, immediate, and/or purposefully chaotic efforts to engage and often redefine the space.  It’s playful, eccentric, frantic but focused, and for people like me, it offers a window to an art form that seemed sometimes too hidden or self-contained to dive fully into.  The quality and range of work that this event invites is completely inspiring.  After every Short & Sweet celebration I attended, I walked away with a new awareness of what might be possible inside of three minutes.  I laughed, I cried.  The creative atmosphere of these proceedings stays with you for a long while.

I’m very happy that the person who introduced me to Short & Sweet, and contemporary dance at large, is introducing this completely unique event to Guelph as part of Kazoofest 2016. It’s a testament to Kazoofest’s role as one of the most vital arts outlets in this area. Big thanks to Guelph Dance and Katie Ewald for bringing it to us.

We hope this whets your appetite for our upcoming 18th Annual Guelph Dance Festival - June 2-5, 2016!

Monday, 7 March 2016

Why I Love Guelph Dance

This month, guest blogger Michelle Miller, shares with us why she loves Guelph Dance. Michelle serves as the Vice President of Guelph Dance's Board of Directors, and she is one of our biggest champions!

I have been one of Guelph Dance’s biggest cheerleaders since its inception almost 20 years ago, when performances were presented in a church basement. I was so thrilled to be able to see live dance in my hometown. And thrilled that there was an audience of people yearning to see and experience dance and performance that was a little more on the edge. I had studied theatre at the University of Guelph, and unfortunately never quite found my footing in a community of like-minded theater people here. The interest in dance in the community seemed promising. Soon, the Guelph Contemporary Dance Festival came into being, and I became one of GD’s most loyal audience members. I shouted from the rooftops; I gathered my friends; I rallied my family to come out and support each and every festival.

Years later I became a board member and began to get an inside view of just how much work it takes to mount the Festival year after year! It is done by total hard work and devotion by the staff, board, and many volunteers that gather at festival time. What has been amazing during the six years that I have been on the board is the dedication that Guelph Dance members and founders have to restructure the organization to keep the Festival moving forward and upward. After 17 years, Guelph Dance has strength and vitality. Those involved have a wonderful spirit and incredible stamina that I find very inspiring. I am honoured to be a part of this organization.

I devote my time to Guelph Dance because we continually talk about pushing boundaries, of trying new ways to reach audiences and engage them. I love that we create opportunities for national and international artists and at the same time support all of our excellent local talent as well. I love that each year the Festival brings something totally different. It keeps me on my toes! That’s exciting. And it keeps me coming back for more.

Let us know why YOU love Guelph Dance! Go ahead and post it directly to our Facebook page!

Michelle is a jeweller by trade. Check out her cool loops and swirls at www.mimijewellery.com.

Thursday, 21 January 2016

10 Reasons You Should Send Your Child to March Break Arts Explosion Camp

Our March Break Arts Explosion Camp takes place March 14-18, 2016, at the River Run Centre. Been considering signing your child up? Read on to be convinced. Here are 10 reasons you should send your kid to Arts Explosion camp.

1) Great Instructors.
Outreach Artistic Director Janet Johnson hires the most amazing teaching artists to work with Guelph Dance campers. They are all exceptional in their respective fields, as well as experienced teachers who love working with kids.

Adrienne Spier
is our visual arts instructor who will work with all three camp groups. She has an MFA from Concordia University and has exhibited her work across Canada and internationally. She has been teaching art to children for more than 20 years at a variety of schools, camps, and after school programs.

Beautiful dancer Julia Garlisi, a graduate of the School of Toronto Dance Theatre Professional Training Program and veteran GTA performer, will be teaching creative and contemporary dance to all of the age groups in this year’s camp.

The delightful Shannon Kingsbury, who will be working with our youngest age campers, holds certificates in Early Childhood Music, Orff, Voice and Music Theory from The Royal Conservatory of Music and Kodaly pedagogy through Wilfred Laurier University. As an educator, Shannon has taught singing based music programs with many outstanding arts organizations and studios in Guelph since 2007. 

Camp favorite Megan O’Donnell is back to teach jazz dance to the Red and Blue campers. She is a graduate of the Ryerson University dance program, and her career has taken her to New York City and back to Guelph where she has performed with Dancetheatre David Earle among others.

Courtney Riddell will teach theatre to all three groups. She has worked with First Light Theatre for over five years working as a teacher, director, programme coordinator and more. She has recently started her own musical theatre class in Guelph and has been performing a one-woman kids show all over Guelph and the surrounding area.

2) Beautiful venue.

Have you really noticed just how beautiful the River Run Centre is? Nice lobby, the light-filled Canada Company Hall, the black box Cooperator’s Hall, the cool mezzanine, and access to the outside space for lunchtime play!

3) Pay for the day or for the week.
It’s March Break, so maybe you have to work while your child is off school. Or maybe you’re also taking a few days break from your job. Whatever the situation, we’re ready to accommodate your schedule. Come one day or all five – or anything in between.

4) Free pre- and post-care.
The arts programming of the camp is scheduled from 9:30 to 3:30, but your child is welcome to arrive anytime between 8:30-9:30 and they’ll be something for them to get involved with! Games, art, interacting with other campers or counselors. Same thing at the end of the day: from 3:30-4:30, your child can stay and play! No extra charge for this!!

5) Inexpensive additional post-care.
Can’t get to the River Run Centre by 4:30? No worries! For just $5/day, your child can stay at the River Run Centre until 5:30 pm, with an adult on hand to supervise.

6) An awesome showing at the end.
It’s an arts camp, so we make sure there’s an opportunity for the young artists to show off a little for family and friends. We have our show in a theatre, of course! All fun, low-pressure!

7) Keep your kids engaged in the learning process in a fun way.
Worried your child might forget how to be involved in the learning process while she has a week off school? No worries. There are many opportunities for your child to learn at our Arts Explosion Camp! Gosh…it’s so fun, he won’t even realize he's learning. (So you don’t tell, and we won’t either).

8) Your kid is surrounded by other great kids.
If you want your child surrounded by creative and enthusiastic kids, then this is the camp for you. Your child - along with all the other campers - will embrace creativity as they become explorers of the arts!

9) Sibling discount!
You have more than one child who wants to come to camp? Great news: we offer a 5% discount for sibling registrations.

10) Sparks creativity in multiple art forms.
At Arts Explosion camp, your child will experience a variety of art forms. Maybe she loves dance, but hasn’t really gotten into music; or he loves to paint, but has some caution around performing. Well, at Arts Explosion camp, our amazing instructors and nurturing counselors will encourage your child to participate and explore. Singing, dancing, acting, and painting are all entryways to a life of creativity, providing your child with skills to become a positive problem solver and a confident communicator.

For more information about the camp, including costs, visit http://www.guelphdance.ca or call 519-780-2220.

Ready to register? Visit the River Run box office website or call 519-763-3000.

Thursday, 26 November 2015

What's Indiegogo? Why Expand the Park Series? ALL of your FAQs Answered!

Last week, Guelph Dance launched an Indiegogo campaign to help expand the wildly popular In the Park series. You might be thinking, 'What does that mean? Why do they need money to put this on? What is happening to the other Park shows?'' Look no further: All of the answers are here.

Guelph Dance needs to raise $4,000 to add a fourth In the Park show in a new location somewhere in the City of Guelph. This will not affect the three regularly scheduled shows at Exhibition Park on Thursday June 2 at 7pm, Saturday June 4 at 12pm, and Sunday June 5 at 12pm. We simply want to spread the joy of contemporary dance and make it more accessible to other neighbourhoods in our beautiful city.

Check out the terrific photos below taken by community members showing their love for our 2015 In the Park shows. Wouldn't it be great to have more of this? Support with $10 now if you agree!

$4,000 may seem like a lot of money, but that’s what it takes to put on one of these shows, with artist fees and technical support being the biggest costs. And when you break it down, $4,000 is only 400 x 10, so that is what we’re asking: for 400 people to each give $10. Contemporary dance doesn’t have to be on a stage, and it doesn’t have to have a high ticket price. We can bring it right to your backyard, on a pay-what-you-can basis!

It's so nice to have an army of supporters behind us, like this army of campers we had In the Park in 2013. Show your support with $10 now!

If you’re new to Indiegogo, have no fear, it's really easy to use! Indiegogo is a well-known crowdfunding website that makes it easy for organizations like us to raise money quickly. Just go to our campaign page, check out our campaign video, enjoy the warm and fuzzy feelings that you get from reminiscing about our In the Park shows, and then click “Contribute Now”. On the next page, enter the amount you wish to give. We recommend $10, but are happy to receive more! Rest assured, you can trust this secure site.

A fan favourite, the Park shows bring beautiful dance works to unique places. Below, photo of Ritmo Flamenco by Randy Sutherland.

Crowdfunding only really works when people share the campaign with people they know who care about the cause. So after you make your generous contribution, please post our Indiegogo page on your Facebook page, tweet about it, and email it to your friends! Together, we can bring more dance to more people in more places! Please give today!

Wednesday, 28 October 2015

IMPACT! How Board Members and Volunteers Make A Difference

Lynda Murray, during a donor campaign
Every not-for-profit arts organization relies on the service of a dedicated Board of Directors to contribute expertise to the organization and to make a difference in how the organization operates. Since its inception, Guelph Dance has been fortunate to have some amazing and passionate people as Board members, who have definitely made an impact! The main responsibility of the Board is overall governance of the organization, ultimately overseeing the healthy administration of Guelph Dance. While they serve in a voluntary capacity, they are rewarded with the satisfaction of knowing they are bringing fabulous contemporary dance to our community. Sure, they have to sit in on a few meetings, but they are also among the first to know about Guelph Dance’s Festival artists and new initiatives. They provide ideas, advice, feedback, and guidance in all areas of the organization.

Neal Kennard
Recently, there have been some major changes in our Board. First of all, we are sorry to see two excellent members, Lynda Murray and Neal Kennard, move on after making substantial contributions to Guelph Dance. Lynda was a key part of our rebranding initiative and was then asked to serve on the Board. She has willingly shared her knowledge during her time as a board member and given sage advice to our marketing efforts. Neal brought his expertise to our fundraising efforts, establishing guidelines and principles which we are continuing to move forward upon. I know I express the feelings of everyone connected with Guelph Dance in thanking Lynda and Neal for their extensive contributions to Guelph Dance.

Fortunately, two new members have stepped forward. Well not exactly new. Former president, Kim Bolton returns to the board and Lindsay Morris, former office manager, comes onto our board for the first time. Both individuals, with long commitments to Guelph Dance, bring a wealth of impetus and expertise to board. On behalf of the other members of the board, I welcome Kim and Lindsay. They will be important additions to our hard working group.

Another way for people to impact the direction of Guelph Dance is to serve as a volunteer on one of our committees: Artistic, Marketing, and Fundraising.  All three committees contribute valuable ideas and energy to the organization, helping us to thrive in all aspects of our work. Read about each committee below, and if you’re interested in joining one, contact us at info@guelphdance.ca. The only requirements: you have a passion for dance, you're invested in the success of Guelph Dance, and you're a current member of our organization.

  • The Marketing Committee supports the promotion of all of Guelph Dance’s activities. Its goal is to develop yearly marketing campaigns that best communicate the organization’s performances, camps, workshops, and fundraising events. It advises on print media, online presence, promotional offers, and on the cultivation of patrons.
  • The Fundraising Committee takes on a leadership role in planning and coordinating revenue-generating strategies, from donation campaigns to special events. The Committee extends the reach of the organization beyond its existing networks to help cultivate support within the community.

  • The Artistic Committee believes in, and supports, the work of the Artistic Directors of Guelph Dance.  The Artistic Committee advises the Artistic Directors and ensures that Guelph Dance is meeting or exceeding its mandate, mission, and vision. Committee members support through brainstorming, event organization, and goal setting, but they do not serve as curators.
By volunteering on one of our committees, you can help make the 2015-16 Guelph Dance season the best ever! You can make an impact!

Wednesday, 10 June 2015

Sponsors Unleash Their Imaginations and Stretch Their Boundaries too!

While we are still buzzing from the Festival weekend, we want to pause for a moment and thank all of our supporters for their time, energy, and generous financial contributions. We simply could not have pulled off such an inspiring 17th annual Festival without the support of our amazing community!

Our generous funders, sponsors, and donors all played an important role in bringing such stimulating and thought-provoking works to the parks, studios, and stages of Guelph! We are truly grateful.
We would like to extend special thanks to Brenda Reid-Gibson and the rest of the team at 1460 CJOY AM and 106.1 Magic FM for three years' worth of in-kind support. You probably heard ads for our Arts Explosion March Break Camps and the June 4-7 Festival while you were stuck on the 401 or waiting in line at the grocery store. These stations have been helping us reach you in your homes and workplaces by recording and playing our ads. We're certain that our record audience numbers in the Park are in part because of the exposure they give us in our community!

A shout out also goes to Guelph Tribune for featuring our supporters in a beautiful full page ad on page 42 of their Thursday June 11 edition!

We encourage you to support our supporters, many of which are local businesses with very big hearts! If your business is interested in becoming a Sponsor, or if you would like to support us personally, please read up on all the ways to Support Dance!

Tuesday, 2 June 2015

Unleash Your Imagination with Jody Oberfelder Projects

We want you to have the inside scoop, so in the weeks leading up to the 2015 Guelph Dance Festival, the artists will take you behind the scenes and you will hear from the Co-Artistic Directors about their creative vision. You can stretch your boundaries and unleash your imaginations before the Festival even starts! So go ahead, follow your instincts and read on...

This week on the blog, NYC-based choreographer and dancer Jody Oberfelder shares the story of how her piece for the Festival has evolved. You do not want to miss this unique experience as part of Stage B. Get your tickets for the performance on Saturday June 6 at 8pm through the River Run Centre Box Office!

What does dance have to do with the mind? The brain is everywhere in the body. Tracking, encoding, perceiving, the dance of neurons is happening all the time. 

I first met Catrina von Radecki and Lynette Segal in a Skinner Release based workshop taught by Stephanie Skura in NYC. It was the week after my piece about the heart, 4Chambers, had closed following 86 performances. It felt so good to move, go to a blank page, and begin again both physically and mentally. I talked afterwards to our Canadian guests about the nature of our performance installation. Small audiences were lead through four rooms, having different experiences of their hearts through different modalities: visual, tactile, physical and psychological.  It ended with a pulsing room: dancers dynamically rushing at the foam, and red curtained covered walls. I didn’t realize that Catrina was the producer of a festival. She was intrigued with the nature of this piece and sought to bring it to Guelph. We found a great space, but unfortunately it was not fully accessible. When asked “Do you have another piece you could do?” I said, “Yes”, quite heartily, as I was deep into the next process.

My research on the heart led to the brain.
Film still from "Dance of the Neurons".
In June 2014, I began to host brainstorming sessions/salons in my living room, with neuroscientists. They seemed just as game as I was to dialogue and envision an art piece culled from our discussions. I continued to research, and dive into scientific text. There were so many entry points. Finally, in early fall, I had to start somewhere. The first “rehearsal” was sifting through index cards. Mary suggested, “Why don’t we stand up and move?” Initiating this process: a chance to drop the brain down and see a bodily interpretation of the brain, the mind, proved the immediacy of your body at your fingertips, so to speak: the instantaneous connection of the physical with the cerebral.

Continuing back and forth conversations, we’d Skype into our rehearsals neuroscientists Dr. Weiji Ma, Dr. Gary Marcus, or Ed Lein (from the Allan Institute), who’d view and offer suggestions. They were also our fact checkers. Having non-dancers contribute in such an important way changed my own process. The ‘material’ of this study – of the mind – rising up and ‘materializing’ while choreographing has been a bountiful and imaginative process.
Jody Oberfelder Project dancers in rehearsal at Dancetheatre David Earle.
I call The Brain Piece a “choreographed experience”. Thinking of experiment and experience as similar, our end result being not data, but living breathing present artifacts of discovery, it is my goal to engage audiences in such a way so that they notice their own brain activity. People who come will translate and connect with their own brains and bodies.

Jody Oberfelder Projects is currently in the studio creating new material with three Canadian dancers – Lacey Smith, Robert Kingsbury, and Lynette Segal – augmenting our NY cast – Ben Follensbee, Mary Madsen, and Madeline Wilcox.  A New Music USA grant enhanced collaborations with composers Daniel Wohl, Sean Hagerty and Angelica Negron. Set is by Ioannis Oikonomou, and film is co-directed by Eric Siegel.
Local and international dancers together at last! The cast of the Brain Piece after their first full rehearsal.
Want a quick preview? Here’s a clip of a film segment that kicks off the showTickets for Stage B, featuring Jody Iberfelder Projects, can be purchased now through the River Run Centre Box Office. Interested in several shows? Purchase a Theatre Pass (3 shows) or Stage Pass (2 shows) and save up to 15%!

Thursday, 28 May 2015

Stretch Your Boundaries with Julia Garlisi

We want you to have the inside scoop, so in the weeks leading up to the 2015 Guelph Dance Festival, the artists will take you behind the scenes and you will hear from the Co-Artistic Directors about their creative vision. You can stretch your boundaries and unleash your imaginations before the Festival even starts! So go ahead, follow your instincts and read on...

This week on the blog, local dancer and choreographer Julia Garlisi shares a few words about her artistic process in creating the piece she will perform at Stage A. Get your tickets for the performance on Friday June 5 at 8pm through the River Run Centre Box Office!

I would love to extend my deepest gratitude to the Guelph Dance Festival for programming my work on Stage A this year. The Festival has played a significant role in my career as a performer and creator. I appreciate the years of support and growing opportunities. It feels so exhilarating to be amongst such talented and inspirational dance artists during the Festival. This truly will be an experience that I will treasure for a lifetime.
Photo of Julia Garlisi by John Lauener.
David Earle gave me a CD about four years ago that contained the music for my piece. Instantly, I was captivated by the title of the music “Piece from the Year 1981” because that is the year I was born. When I listened to the music it was haunting, intense, and a little too big for me at that time. I loved it but I couldn’t do anything with it. I knew at some point I would attempt to create something with it, but it just wasn’t the right time for me. I listened to the music occasionally and then put it in my music library for future use.

I had a couple of weeks off this past August. My goal was to use the time wisely and create a piece or at least plan a potential project. Music is always my inspiration to create movement so l began to look through my music library. It had been well over a year since I listened to “Piece from the Year 1981”. I played the song, sat in my chair, and let my mind wander. What I heard somehow sounded so different from what I remembered. The music hit me and came to life in a whole new way. I could feel and see what I wanted to create with this piece. From that moment I knew that this is what I needed to work on. With absolutely zero expectations, zero judgments, and zero pressure I gave myself three weeks to “play” and create. In three days my piece was composed. It came out of me quite magically and effortlessly. Since then I have refined and readjusted certain moments but the structure has remained the same.
Photo of Julia Garlisi by Jennifer Scime.
The title of the music was influential in the creative process of this piece. It inspired the work and movement phrases. I decided that it had to be the title for my piece as well. I only changed out one word to make it more personal for my narrative. “Piece for the Year 1981” became my own intimate journey to authenticity.

Tickets for Stage A, featuring Julia Garlisi, can be purchased now through the River Run Centre Box Office. Interested in several shows? Purchase a Theatre Pass (3 shows) or Stage Pass (2 shows) and save up to 15%! Let's make sure these incredible artists have a full house!