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Getting physical 

For the 2015 Mayworks Festival, a mixed media piece about the hidden work of dance.

click to enlarge Work of the Dancer pairs the hard physical work of dance with music and audio, creating a full picture of an art form. - CHARLES BOURNE
  • Work of the Dancer pairs the hard physical work of dance with music and audio, creating a full picture of an art form.
  • Charles Bourne

Indie radio producer, media artist and Coast contributor Veronica Simmonds jumps into the 2015 Mayworks Festival with Work of the Dancer, a mixed media performance combining documentary audio, music by Lindsay Dobbin and contemporary dance, Thursday to Saturday at The Bus Stop Theatre.

After meeting dancer and choreographer Jacinte Armstrong during a residency with Secret Theatre, Simmonds began exploring the relationship between dance and labour by interviewing dancers about their practice. From it, she's created an audio/visual project that highlights dance as an occupation.

"Dance is physical," says Simmonds. "It's a kind of work that is very hard on the body, but it takes an emotional and spiritual toll, as well. This was an opportunity to blend my skills as a radio producer and my ability to bring out voices with Jacinte's ability to speak with the body, by creating a spacious audio and music montage for her choreography. The dancers"—Rhonda Baker, Susanne Chui, Ruth-Ellen Kroll Jackson, Sarah Rozee, Elise Vanderborght and Liliona Quarmyne—"will be dancing to their own words."

In her interviews, Simmonds focused on challenges within the dance profession, including how the labour of dance is recognized and valued. As part of Mayworks, a celebration of labour, Simmonds emphasizes that dance is not just an art form, it's a job. "So much of a dancer's work is done behind the scenes," she says.

Work of the Dancer will be a unique way to hear, see, feel and experience a full picture of dance.


Work of the Dancer with How Often Do I Dream?
May 7-9, 7pm
The Bus Stop Theatre, 2203 Gottingen Street
$10 alone or $15 with How Often Do I Dream?
mayworkshalifax.ca/the-work-of-the-dancer

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