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A few days prior to their new show, Excavation, neomemoire met with four choreographers and dancers from the Nostos Collectives Dance Association.
Nostos Collectives is a pretty autonomous group. They produce their own shows; they are not related to any institution or school in any way. Each member has tasks, one being responsible for lighting, costumes or promotion for example. They choose their choreographers, who is available, who wants to. Everyone in the collective dances for each other’s choreography, and the creation is constructed in collaboration with everyone. Choreographers usually arrive with a concept, a structure, but the final product is the fruit of this collaborative process. When ask if the choreography could evolve, all answered it would if it was to be redone in the future, they also explained that this is a first step, and of course nothing is set in stone. Is it a work-in-progress? Not really, because when asked if the audience would see the same show on the three presentation, a unanimous yes came out!
If one could describe the style, or put a label on the collective, Nostos inclines for a mainly physical dance. Gavin Law explains: “I feel Toronto doesn’t have enough dance companies that are doing a lot of physical work”. All the work of Nostos is about movement over text and theater. They want to explore their physical strength, both male and female dancers, break boundaries, not following the traditional rules where “boys do this and girls do that”.
Irena Ponizova will present soft music, a piece exploring the concept of disassociation. Irena has a ballet background, and she uses frequently stories in her creations as a tool, a starting point. “There are a lot of stories in classical ballets… my work is very narrative”. She doesn’t want to have a targeting message, but “want the audience to feel their internal worlds, stimulate their imagination”. In psychology, disassociation (or dissociation) is observed when someone disconnect from her/his surrounding, feelings momentarily, when someone fugues from her/himself. “What does it mean to disassociate? When you have a disconnection mind-body-soul, what that does to someone?” It will be interesting to see how this concept will be translated in movement.
Tyler Angell also has a ballet background and his work is mostly influenced by theater. “There is no text in my piece, but there has to be a moment where the audience needs to understand each character”. This being said, Tyler also approaches dance with physicality, there will even be some kind of violence in his creation: from Adam to ashes. Audience will see a reflection on our aggressive reactions in our daily normal lives. “Sometimes I look at myself, why am I so angry? (…) I think about it, it is like someone took over my body”. It seems humanity has not evolved since barbarian era. How come there is so much violence around us? A chain of humans undulating who separate from each other and question their body and skin will image this research on the history of violence.
Emily Spearing does not usually work with men. HEAD OVER HEELS pushed her out of her boundaries as she co-creates with a man, Gavin Law, for male and female dancers. This piece explores love relationships. Gavin explains: “we think about alternative relationships, not hetero-normative male and female relationships (…) showcasing other form of love and relationships that maybe aren’t as accepted in society”. Further he adds,
“What we see in ballet is a woman who is fragile then a prince comes and saves her. (…) We wanted to portray this powerful woman who is in a relationship with a man but they’re equal and they respect each other”. Emily did researches on what one wants to find in love: romantic experience, intellectual stimulation, emotional support, physical touch, and new social status are the most frequent answers. The choreographic duet will show unexpected couples, threesomes and will also reflex on the idolization, the love of celebrities who have no impact in our personal lives.
A lot of passion came out from this interview. Before neomemoire left, they all felt the need to express how Nostos Collectives positively affects their life. Tyler: “when you go out of school, where do you go as a dancer?” Emily: “this is a passion project for most of us, we are not making money. (…) Having an opportunity, we can run a rehearsal, you can play with an idea and have bodies that are able and creative and willing. It is so rare!” Irina adds how fantastic it is to “have good people who like to experiment and progress together”.
Impatient to feel all this passion on stage? Excavations will be on stage this weekend; here is a chance to discover emerging talented dancers and choreographers. Take this opportunity to say you were there when they first showed…
Excavation, by Nostos Collectives, Winchester Theater, 80 Winchester Street, Toronto.
April 20-22 at 8:00pm
Box Office (at the door) Opens @ 7:30PM General $20 Students/Seniors/Arts Workers $15
about the author:
Normand Babin is a professional pianist, working and living in Toronto since 2014, he also writes about arts for many years. In Montréal he was writing for his blog montréalistement, la Scena Musicale, La Recrue du Mois and others, he launched neomemoire in April 2018 where he is chief editor and author.