Archive for March, 2009

A Great Home Stretch

March 30, 2009

This post covers 3 shows because it was difficult to write in the blog from Yellowknife because I did not have internet access and I could not write since we arrived in Alberta because my computer was set up at the theatre the entire time (it’s the computer that runs the show). Too bad because I will lose some of the detail and it has been a very dense week of travel and performance. But here are the snapshots.

Let’s just say that Yellowknife was the social highlight of the trip as I suspected it might be. Coming from the North, I know about the high premium placed on hospitality and that is what we received in large amounts in YK. Our hosts Osgur and Karen were super attentive and fun. The community likes to have a good time. The audience was interactive and insightful and we had a good show. And some of us taught workshops which were well attended and satisfying. I especially liked working with the Friday night group who ended up creating some beautiful movement studies during our time together.

It was hard to leave the North, partly because it was 6am. The night before was a very late night at the Snow King’s Castle (I guess you’ll have to go to Yellowknife in March to find out what that’s about and I would advise you to find out). But we all made it to the airport and flew to Edmonton. Our main man Curtis was our driver and we were his comedians–sleeplessness can have that effect.

Finally, technical rehearsals at the beautiful Arden Theatre began in the late afternoon of Saturday and then 2 shows on Sunday. The morning show was a champagne breakfast and now I think the series that LINK created in 2002 has truly found its most complete and satisfying recipe. Breakfast Dances with champagne…Yeh! Our audience was AMAZING. They were funny and interesting, with diverse insights, and the duet inspired a group cry that was beautiful to behold. I knew it was going to go well when I walked on stage and said Hello Everyone and before I could move on to my next line, the whole audience in unison sang back “Hello”. It all barreled forth from there.

There were some memorable comments about synchronicity as a process of discovery and aging in a relationship, standing on ones own feet being an image of captivity (earlier in the tour someone described it is a circuit of self-containment). There were beautiful comments about the deliberateness of an animal’s actions which is what “Territory” captures in my mind so effectively. We even had a poet in the audience who wrote 3 poems in response to our work and I will post them once he sends them to me.

The final show went fine as well but the climax was definitely at 11am on Sunday March 29 and I think I will ride on that energy for awhile. One couple after the show debriefed every detail of the performance with me from how amazing it was to be addressed right at the top of the show with a reminder to now arrive, focus and take note of the moments that spark their creativity. They said it brought them into a state of presence in a way they had never experienced before at a show. They told me many other things as well but blogs are for fun so write me if you want more details.

After our final performance, the company went for our Last Supper. We took the time to recap our tour–to review the month’s highlights in sequential order. It was a beautiful thing to do, spontaneously, to capture the moments that left an impression, to retell the richness of life on tour where a group of people become temporarily like a family, like newlyweds, in love and in hate, working together daily despite tensions, difficulties, good times, hang overs, all of it. And we really did work as a group most days, spending much of our time together and sharing some really good singing, laughing, performing, logistics and practicalities. I have great affection for Darcy, Amber, Josh and Dean. It was all a highlight. Thanks!


NYC? G & AFB throwin’ it down

March 18, 2009

Well that was fun. We performed our shortened version of the touring piece at Ailey Studios last night and it went great. Amber and I were able to grab one hour of rehearsal space during the afternoon and we quickly constructed a new roadmap through the improv piece. I took some of Josh’s parts and Amber absorbed some of Darcy’s and we created a few new transitions and then, here we go. As Amber, I mean AFB, said it. We’re in NY and the best thing is to have no time to get nervous.

It was so much fun sharing the stage with Amber. She’s awesome and no surprise, the audience loved her. One person called her incandescent. My husband told me I looked 20 years younger dancing that night (and despite that he is my main squeeze he is also my biggest critic). It really was a special show and we connected deeply with the audience and with one another.

Dean had some residual voodoo from an earlier show but he gave us some super morsels to chew on from the tech booth and in total we threw it down in NYC (and put the bags in their rightful place).

“This is not your average blog…;)”

March 15, 2009

well…here i am. the name’s AFB and i’m in NYC. New York that is. anyway, i’m here to shed some light on what it’s been like as on of the performers on this tour…
i find it pretty cool that no matter what time of the day we perform this program, whether it’s for dessert, brunch, cocktails, what-have-you…it always manages to make an impact with people. some towns are more emotional and forth right with their comments and some are more reserved-but there is always a response whether in the format of the performance or after the show is over.
our last show was in st. catherines-a toughy for me but having a full house made it all the more worth it. totally warm and appreciative…when you get to dance for people who really appreciate and connect to what you are doing…yeah…it’s pretty cool to have that privilege.
(i forgot to start this blog off by apologizing for my horrible spelling that will no dought infiltrate this entire entry)
where was i? oh yeah. so the team is on a break right now. i am a little sad without my two other LINK dance dream teamers but i am recharging for what’s ahead: -50 windchill in yellowknife…yeeeeeaaaah…gotta do some serious mental preperation to cope with that one;) i am looking forward to it. never been to the martimes-check. got to see torono again-check. nyc? really big check! and now i am really looking forward to performing in the NWT…
’till next time friends…
peace out,
Lady B of the LINK

Ontario’s third show

March 14, 2009

We just completed our last show in Ontario in a town called St. Catherines, organized through Brock University. The presenter Deb Slade booked the Folk Society’s Hall to do the show with Breakfast served along side the performance, which is truly my favorite arrangement for these shows. So informal and warm.

The show went great and we had a super interesting audience. Kids, professional dancers from the Niagara Dance Company, the head of Dramatic Arts from Brock University, the chair of the Canadian Alliance of Dance Artists-Ontario Chapter. People seemed to really love the show and enjoy the interplay between their thoughts and our creative impulses.

It’s been fun.

Ontario Shows–the next 2 out of 3

March 14, 2009

I didn’t have a chance to write after our first show in Ontario which was in Oakville. The one window of time that was free, I realized that my computer ended up in Dean’s room for the night. So now another show later I can tell you that both shows have gone well enough although not perfectly. I’ll get back to the glitches in a moment. The good news is that I can see that night time is fine for people to get chatty and to cross the 4th wall comfortably. Also, the presence of kids is such a lovely addition to the mix.

Audiences at both shows in Ontario so far have been very interactive and I had a couple of cool insights into our work through their comments. One person talked about how in Territory, he could see the shifting traits of the dancer’s character but he also mentioned how through her movements and intentions he was able to also see a very detailed picture of her landscape, the location of rocks, trees, etc. Another person told me that the beginning of the third piece looks like I am a signing interpreter, not necessarily for the blind, but for those who read movement better than words. I like that.

We have added a couple of changes to the work, including the use of more moments of onstage witnessing of one another and I think that has been an interesting addition since one of the viewer’s comments that struck me early in the tour was his statement that he was not sure who was watching who in this show, the performers or the audience. Also there is a new brief vocal ending to the show which let’s people know that the performance is over and that the last piece, which they have just seen, is largely improvised. I think it is a good addition, in part because it gives credit where credit is due and by that I mean that the dancers’ creativity and Dean’s wit is what makes the piece work, and I don’t take credit for material I did not create. The other reason is that it allows the audience to leave the theatre with that big question answered, whether the connection between what they were seeing and hearing was by chance or designed. We don’t give it away before the piece but we let them leave the theatre with that questioned answered so that they can chew on the other question about spontaneous composition and how it makes the moment of performance so charged and urgent. They recognize the performers’ vulnerability in the final creation which puts them in good company.

And the glitches . . . well the Oakville show was going beautifully when on the last piece our CD began to fail. That was disappointing because despite the dancers’ efforts to use the fractured playback as an aesthetic element, eventually the playback fell away completely and we were left finishing the piece in silence. The presenter was generous and told us that although it looked less effective than possible, still people loved the show. In Kitchener, we also had an awkward moment when a silly on/off feature on the microphone created a moment of loud feedback which was unfortunate but not terrible. It was funny when Dean gave the feedback sound back to us as almost our final moment in the show. That’s the interesting part of a real-time influence in performance, it can allow you to look at foibles as part of the material of life, not what needs to be disregarded.

Our late night drive to St. Catherines where we perform today, was filled with loud singing by the whole group. Totally fun and funny and made the drive very fast.

Hanging out in Toronto

March 11, 2009

Well the last two days have been time off and it’s been great. Fun hang outs in TO with the cast, my old friend Sam B-Good who has recently moved here, Ali Denham and some of her friends. TO is such a great city, full of stylish people and excellent places to hang out and just be among friends. I really noticed the level of humanity in this big city. I also have to rave about an awesome yoga class I took at Octopus Garden in the Annex area of the city (so funky, granola . . . definitely where I would live if I lived here). The teacher really understands Yoga and is not one of those recent converts, but a true instructor who offers insight into the practice. I worked so damn hard though that I wondered if these other students came atleast 3 days a week, how strong they must be. I just went back to the hotel after the two-hour class and crashed for a long sleep.

Today we leave for Oakville ON to get back to work. Should be fun. We get to see Ken Coulter at the Oakville Centre who is a dynamic man and a big fan of our show. I look forward to it.

Second Show

March 8, 2009

OK the evidence is mounting. My original partner, Zola the coffee roaster and I had a hunch back in 2002 (when we first created breakfast dances), that the way to get people to talk about contemporary dance and to break down barriers, was to alter the traditional evening performance setting and to get the audience wired on coffee. Last night’s performance was the first time we performed this program at night with alcohol and there was a noticable divide between the performers and the audience.

Today, we had our second show in New Brunswick, this time at brunch and we had a bunch of talkative, insightful people feeding us some great comments that made the show a great success. I think all dance shows should happen during the day because people seem to be less uptight and more engaged.

Anyway, the tour is going well and I am learning to drink beer.

first show

March 8, 2009

Last night was our first show. In the beautiful Imperial theatre. Wow, what a gorgeous and well run theatre.
the audience told us after the show how much they loved the work, but they certainly didn’t do their part during the show to offer their input and to create the exchange that makes these shows work at their best. Well that’s interesting because I stated from the start that the intent is to help the audience see the influence they have over a performance event–well I guess that should be for better or for worse. Interesting to see if going back to a morning time and coffee as the elixir of conversation, if we will have a more chatty group with us today.
FUN FUN FUN to travel with this bunch.

We arrived in the Halifax airport

March 5, 2009

… with a 4 hour lay over ahead of us. I was psyched to head into halifax for dinner until we learned that this city has suffered from the same tragic urban planning that prevails throughout North America. A cab ride in to Halifax takes 30 minutes and costs over $100 roundtrip. So it’s dinner at the airport and then off to see St John NB.

National Tour 2009

March 4, 2009

Tomorrow morning we are off at an ungodly hour–5:30am pickups for the airport. The groans of discontent at rehearsal today were loud but the beauty of the tour booklets our administrative manager (Valerie) created for us, quieted the cry.
Rehearsals went really smoothly this week. The dream team cast is amazing. Amber, Darcy, Josh–they all learn material so quickly, assume changes with out the bat of an eye, and offer input on new creative ideas and alterations to the work.
The biggest challenge that has arisen so far is trying to recover from uncontrollable fits of laughter that erupt when the performers get rolling on some joke or play act, which they can keep going mercilessly.
I can’t help but think that the time spent with this crew over the next month will be super fun, no matter what we confront along the way.
Dean, our technical director, arrived from Yukon yesterday. He is now with us, so the team has amassed and we head out in the morning.
Thanks to Amber, Darcy, Josh and Dean for being the dream team.

Feb. 22/09
Welcome to the Link Foundation National Tour 2009 blog. Follow us around Canada.
Regular blog entries start on March 5 when the company flies off to St John, New Brunswick.