ME SO YOU SO ME

Over the next three nights, Halifax’s Live Art Dance presents Me So You So Me, a comical and colourful production inspired by Japanese manga and the percussive rhythms of Asa Chang. Recently we spoke with the Out Innerspace co-directors David Raymond & Tiffany Tregarthen about what audiences can expect.

When and why did you first become interested in dance, and are they the same reasons that you continue to be involved today?
The reasons we're involved in dance today? There are so many. For us dancing is the closest thing we have to the language of the imagination. It exists in physical, emotional, spiritual, intellectual, private and public realms. We get to be critical thinkers, problem solvers, social designers and rediscover daily that the human body, mind and spirit are limitless. We are a part of connecting ideas, important issues and people, insisting and inspiring that we are all artists in our own right and that artists ask important questions, make change, take risks, solve problems and simultaneously enrich, research and express the human experience. We think out, sweat out, talk out, feel out our questions, conflicts and ideas and we get to do that with a team of innovative interdisciplinary experts. We get to participate in something that is at once primal and cutting-edge and inside all of us. With all of these reasons we feel the responsibility to help continue and develop the appreciation and future of dance and so our practice has taken the shape of our education, creation and performances. These are of course very expanded reasons to be involved dance from when we first found our interests as children in our local dance studios! But at the heart of both is feeling like you are a part of something important, creative and physical that asks so much of you on every level and being able to share that with yourself and others.

What are the challenges of the vocation?
It's challenging to balance training, researching, creating, educating, producing and advocating into one career. Our creative needs and the form ask us to be contemplative, exploratory and connected with life outside of dance in order to have something to dance about and at the same time the career asks us to have an incredibly broad skill-set and beyond full-time commitment to maintain as an active contributor. We have to be able to move proficiently between independent and collaborative, inward and outward looking, leading and following, artistic and technical...in order to manage both abstract ideas and our organization's projects.  It takes risk, resourcefulness, rigor, endurance, confidence and tenacity to support talent and keep up with something that is inherently new, evolving and struggling to be positioned higher in the public interest as a valued source of cultural, personal, artistic and entertaining experience. 

What are the rewards?
The reasons to dance are the rewards. We are a part of something we believe in and has valuable personal and public impact on many levels. We get to reflect on what it means to be human and are asked to challenge every part of ourselves to do so. The pure pleasure of dancing alone and with others is a reward we can all relate to and that maintains as both a priority and privilege of what we do.
What inspired Me So You So Me?
Asa Chang's music is a rhythmically complex and hybridized collection of things that are simultaneously familiar yet come together to make something inarguably new. When we found his music in 2006, we knew we wanted to aspire to do with dance what he does with music. We are inspired by the way he crafts his skills and perspective with a sense of lawlessness. At the same time we make dance about our life experiences and questions and heard in his music -especially with the female and male voices - the potential for our experience and questions as a couple to be asked and answered. We set out to build an extraordinary world and characters to go in it that could use fantasy and absurdity to exercise and express an every-day relationship. Our characters are made of inner animals, cartoon inspirations and exploiting our individual and contrasting facilities as dancers. With these characters and the world we've created we are liberated to express things that we think are both personal and public truths about reflecting on who we are, want to be and become in a relationship.

What can audiences expect to experience?
Audiences can expect to see light, video and costume combine with dance in unexpected ways. There is a underlying story line but you don't have to recognize or follow it to understand or relate to the work. They will see us using animal, cartoon and superhero behavior to fight with, for and against each other. Hopefully they experience along with us the extremes of seriousness and silliness within the challenges and rewards of togetherness. They can expect to rediscover that contemporary dance is both familiar and unfamiliar, can surprise and delight us, is extremely athletic, expressive and entertaining.

What's next on your creative agenda?
Our tour of Me So You So Me continues to Goose Bay, Moncton, Summerside, and St. John's. When we return home we will work with the 20 young emerging professionals in our post-secondary dance program Modus Operandi who will be preparing video and live creations for their year-end performance. We will also continue creation on our next work that expands on the character building and interdisciplinary performance language we discovered in our duet. It centers around themes of territory, surveillance, propaganda and identity with an ensemble playing multiple populations of wild characters and furthering our designs of a fictional world to help us work with important personal and public truths. We're also really thrilled to tour Canada with the new work and return to Halifax in the fall of 2016. 

Me So You So Me
April 24-26, 8pm
Sir James Dunn Theatre, Halifax
www.liveartdance.ca