Dance takes on unimaginable proportions this Thursday to Saturday at the Sir James Dunn Theatre— unimaginable except in the creative minds of Halifax’s Jacinte Armstrong, Quebec City’s Maryse Damecour and Montreal’s Dorian Nuskin-Oder.
Live Art Dance presents 3 x 3 x 3 to showcase three different works by the three different choreographers hailing from three different cities. The program is part of the Candance Creation Exchange Project, allowing all three artists to present their choreographies in each other’s cities. The tour begins tomorrow in Halifax.
“I feel like anything that I’ve done and do since this piece has been really, really positively affected by the experience of making it.”
Armstrong, a fixture in Halifax’s dance and choreography community, is also performing her piece (Falling Off the Page) with Susanne Chui (artistic director of Mocean Dance).
“This is my first piece that I’ve worked really in depth on,” says Armstrong who had already choreographed quite a number of dances for companies, groups and herself. But it was being awarded a Kinetic Studio’s Exploration scholarship (2009-2010) that allowed her to develop and perform the piece. “I really, really learned a lot through making this piece,” Armstrong adds. “I feel like anything that I’ve done and do since this piece has been really, really positively affected by the experience of making it.”
The inspiration behind Falling Off the Page came from Armstrong learning choreography from her friend Sarah Cox. Armstrong made a connection between the Japanese art form and to what she refers to as the “two sides” of her life as a dancer.
“One side is performance and expression and it’s public; and then the other side—I, like many dancers, do a lot of body work, like learning about the body and improvising,” shares Armstrong. “…It’s not entirely private, but there’s a large part of that work that’s private and then it feeds into performance work in many ways. That’s part of the internal life of a performer.”
"In the way that I’m really interested in the precise details of the body and how it moves, there was a whole rich landscape of how a brush moves and how you hold a brush and how the ink moves…"
Armstrong realized there were also these two sides to calligraphy. “In the way that I’m really interested in the precise details of the body and how it moves, there was a whole rich landscape of how a brush moves and how you hold a brush and how the ink moves,” she says. “Strangely what attracted Susanne and I most when we got into it was the how of the movement of the ink and the brush, more so than the marks we were making on the page, initially.”
Without revealing too much, Armstrong’s unbelievably stunning interpretation of calligraphy is sure to pleasantly shock. “In the piece we do use our bodies as brushes in many ways—big ways and small ways,” describes Armstrong. “Like our hands and feet, we have practiced working with them in brush-like fashion, and sometimes our whole arm or our whole body or sometimes the whole body of the other dancer.”
Armstrong shares that calligraphy master Kaz Tanahashi (who leads yearly workshops in Halifax that she attends and whose work was one of the inspirations for her piece) was thrilled to see her portrayal of his art form.
To see the full extent of a metamorphosis between dance and calligraphy and vice versa, you just have to see the show! ~AE
See 3x3x3, featuring the works of choreographers Jacinte Armstrong Maryse Damecour and Dorian Nuskin-Oder, Thursday to Saturday (April 25-27) at 8pm at the Sir James Dunn Theatre in Halifax. http://www.liveartproductions.ca/