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Nocturne spotlight: Window Ballet 

Lisa Lipton and 20 artists turns a north end house into a sidewalk voyeur’s dream.

Artist and musician Lisa Lipton originally conceived of the idea of a performance art piece that would play itself out through the windows of a house four years ago, where each window would serve as one act of a play. She initially intended it as a long-term solo project, but following rejections for government funding, she decided to make it into a collaborative venture for Nocturne.

"I got the acceptance letter while I was on tour"--- with her band It Kills---"and I was trying to figure out if I was actually going to do it now---but I thought if I don't do it now, when am I ever going to do's kind of like a dream come true," she says.

Lipton will be collaborating with over 20 other artists, including visual artists, musicians, dancers and actors, using a friend's house in the north end. Collaborators include Lipton's bandmates Soloman Vromans and Darcy Fraser, illustrator Sydney Smith, musician Fall Horsie, dancer Veronique MacKenzie, actor Ann Denny and many others.

Lipton is interested in the idea of voyeurism; the project stemmed "from when you're passing by a house at night---when you see something you're not necessarily supposed to see, as a voyeur---to take that, and to shift it, to turn it: for one evening, to allow people to walk over the boundaries of what it is to be a voyeur." She's quick to add, though: "Not just actions that seem normal, like a woman washing the dishes---to have actions that are surrealistic, or fantastic."

In the collaborative project, Lipton functions a bit as a curator, pairing up artists of different disciplines who responded to her call for submissions. The pairs and small groups will each set up or perform a different window, and Lipton is focussing on a couple herself, in addition to directing the project. She won't divulge much about the narrative, but mentions that all of the female characters are meant to represent the same woman, with "shifting personalities."

Lipton is aiming for four performances over the course of the evening, starting at 7pm and on the hour; the performances will last around 40 minutes. The action moves around the whole perimeter of the house, as well as to a backyard shed, with rooms lighting up as the narrative moves into them.

She made the costumes herself, "tuxedos and gowns, formal wear," or formal knitwear---Lipton often uses knitting in her work, and spent "a lot of time" knitting costumes for Window Ballet.

Lipton has used ideas of dance, and figure skating, in a number of her artworks. It started with her master's thesis project at the University of Windsor, a "waltz performance piece" which she worked on with a music student. "Part of my focus is on teaching myself how to do things, like teaching myself how to waltz...trying to be fearless, to not be scared---I got the idea for a ballet piece because I want to learn ballet."

2650 Northwood Terrace, Zone 4, hourly starting at 7pm

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Vol 28, No 2
October 15, 2020

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