First Ever Dancemakers Minifest Announced

Dancers from Dancemakers Minifest
Rafters-Andrea Spaziani Alicia Grant Julia Male-Photo by Ame Henderson


 Dancemakers‘ Curator Amelia Ehrhardt is pleased to announce programming for the  company’s first-ever MiniFest, two weeks of contemporary dance works and outreach events that are enticing, curious and well-crafted, from June 13 to 24 at three different venues: Dancemakers Centre for Creation in the Distillery District, the Winchester St. Theatre and Artscape Gibraltar Point.

Dancer from Dancemakers minifest
Amanda Acorn-Photo credit Talia Shipman-sm

Says Amelia Ehrhardt, “When running an international contemporary dance centre, you deal with international contemporary dance artists – artists of high caliber with the schedules to show for it. What are the chances they’ll all be available in the same two-week period in June, then? A lot higher than we thought. And so this festival – the Dancemakers MiniFest, we’re calling it – is one of chance, circumstance, and quite a lot of luck.

“Under one umbrella for the first time since the launch of the Incubation Production House (IPH) in 2014, we’re presenting works by all four of Dancemakers’ diverse and challenging Resident Artists who are a part of it: Amanda Acorn, Antony Hamilton, Dana Michel and Andrea Spaziani, with education and outreach events for the entire dance community. And we are delighted to announce that two of these presentations are in partnership: a world premiere with Luminato and the Toronto premiere of an international sensation with Toronto Dance Theatre.

Dancemakers MiniFest Mainstage Programs:

The 2017 Dancemakers MiniFest launches its public performances of works with a Double Bill at 8 pm on Tuesday, June 13 at Dancemakers Centre for Creation, with Andrea Spaziani’s Rafters, featuring collaborators and performers Alicia Grant, Julia Male and Andrea Spaziani. Rafters is a work that solidified Andrea’s residency at Dancemakers. A meditation on hyper-empathy, it offers a flood of imagery: they’re goldfish in a bowl, they’re the actual rafters coming down from the ceiling, they’re tangled kites. Open, inviting, and structured with recognizable tasks the dancers share, Rafters is as subdued as the dancers’ states and overt as their shiny gold pants. – Rafters (2016)

Also on the Double Bill is Amanda Acorn’s Work-in-Progress, with collaborators and performers Rob Abubo, Lori Duncan, Bee Pallomina and Ann Trépanier. Amanda has been working explosively lately – constantly, diligently  –  and she is very prolific. A former Dancemakers company dancer, her solo multiform, that became the group work multiform(s), and the immersive work Leisure Palace have all been shown at least once in the past year. Her creative energy to make a new work is inspiring, and working with such a stellar cast portends that this work-in-progress will be as energetic and arresting as her other works.
 –  Leisure Palace (2015)

Montréaler Dana Michel’s seminal solo work Yellow Towel makes

Dancer from dancemakers minifest
Dana Michel in Yellow Towel. Photo from Maxyme G. Delisle

its Toronto première on Saturday, June 17 at 8 pm with a second performance on Sunday, June 18 at 3 pm at the Winchester Street Theatre. Presented in partnership with Toronto Dance Theatre, Yellow Towel is the work that launched her into the dizzying international touring space she now occupies. Just this month, she was awarded the prestigious Silver Lion for Innovation in Dance of the 2017 Venice Biennale. Québec’s Marie Chouinard, artistic director of the Venice Biennale, notes that “She is continually in the process of re-creating her current history, live, in front of us, infusing the stage with her own propensity for fluctuating identities… she reconstructs the raw and complex experience of simply being.” The award ceremony will be held on June 27 in Venice and that same evening, Michel performs the Italian premiere of Yellow Towel. With her gazing, still and mumbling body, she seems to show an aesthetic of an unwillingness to let you in, but there is a vulnerability that must be watched. Moving through tropes of black identity, Dana embodies these representations in a kind of dare to the audience: is this what you want to see of me?  Yellow Towel (2013)

Co-presented with Luminato, Antony Hamilton’s Natural Orders takes the stage at Dancemakers Centre for Creation on Thursday, June 22 until Saturday, June 24 at 8 pm, with collaborators and performers Meryem Alaoui, Michael Caldwell and Jolyane Langlois – plus robots and machinery by Alisdair Macindoe (Antony’s long-time fellow Melbourne, Australia associate who he performs with April 26-30 for Canadian Stage’s Meeting). Antony explores machine-generated movement in this world première (after a hugely acclaimed Dancemakers’ June 2016 work-in-progress showing) as something that was not possible before machines existed, posing a curious sort of chicken-and-egg dilemma:  we cannot move in a way that we cannot conceive, can’t do the robot unless you’ve seen the robot. And really, how do we conceive of and propose any idea ever? That ideas can be proposed in movement feels impossible and somehow optimistic. Supported in part by the Australian High Commission, Ottawa.  Meeting (2015)

Dancer from Dancemakers minifest
Photo: Alisdair Macindoe Antony Hamilton in Meeting

Dancemakers MiniFest Outreach Programs:
Dancemakers MiniFest Outreach
 activities commence with Antony Hamilton’s Morning Class, running from Monday, June 12 to Friday, June 16, from 10 am to 12 Noon, at Dancemakers Centre for Creation. Geared for professional and pre-professional dance artists, this 5-day morning technique workshop explores the elements within Antony’s creative process.
Andrea Spaziani’s Overwhelmica on Thursday, June 15 at 9:00 pm takes audiences to Artscape Gibraltar Point (meet at Hanlan’s Point Ferry for the 8:30 pm ferry). Overwhelmica is a performative lecture on “looking up” as a choreographic gesture of expansion. By looking up, we rediscover the night sky, and grapple with existence against the scale of the observable galaxy, and its dark pockets. This lecture knows nothing about astronomy, and dodges astrology. It is about seeing beyond the capacity to look. Audiences will dance into blind spots under the massive sky. Overwhelmica was originally made for Archaeology of the Frivolous, to be presented May 4 to 15, Chihuahuan Desert, Marfa, Texas.

Next comes Is It Utopic To Even Ask? A Conversation on Monday, June 19 at 7 pm at Dancemakers Centre for Creation, moderated by Dancemakers Curator Amelia Ehrhardt, with Amanda Acorn, Antony Hamilton, Dana Michel and Andrea Spaziani. Dancemakers’ Resident Artists come together to share their experience of working in the unique IPH format, and what it’s like to work as an artist weaving in and out of this program model and other institutional resident artist models. How can organizations such as Dancemakers best serve the artistic process? What changes about work when it is self-facilitated vs. when it is organizationally driven? How can artists and institutions work together to imagine this kind of utopia?

For secondary and post-secondary dance students, an Open Rehearsal will be held with a Q & A of Antony Hamilton’s Natural Orders on Tuesday, June 20 at Dancemakers Centre for Creation, at 2 pm. The students will be the first audiences to witness the final work, and the collaborative energy between Antony Hamilton’s sophisticated choreography, his long-time ally Alisdair Macindoe and his obsessive machine-making, and the unsurpassed dancers Meryem Alaoui, Michael Caldwell and Jolyane Langlois in, as Hamilton states, this “hyper-real theatrical situation.”  Meeting (2015)

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