Pulling inspiration from a winter solstice celebration and his experience as a yoga instructor, dancer and choreographer Robert Halley is back in Vancouver with his latest work Shift Happens as part of The LOLA Projects.
Established in 2008 and named after Victoria choreographer Lola MacLaughlin, The LOLA Projects each year pairs a Vancouver choreographer with a Victoria artist in creating new works. This year marks the first time the collaboration comes to Vancouver with a presentation of four solo pieces at the Scotiabank Dance Centre on March 1, 2012.
In a unique twist to mark its first time in Vancouver, Halley has created a new work in response to Vancouver choreographer Iris Wing-Chi Lau’s existing work In His Time.
“We watched the two Vancouver dancers and I wrote a one-page response to Iris’ dance explaining what triggered us in terms of themes or movement ideas in creating a new work,” explained Halley. “Without giving away too much about Iris’ work, it is a testament to the fact that life goes on. There are moments where she is weighed down by life, but my response was that life goes on no matter what. The end result is two complimentary pieces.”
While Halley found himself under some pressure to give his work a name at the eleventh hour, he says landing on Shift Happens as a title was perfect.
“Sometimes people get the title first,” laughed Halley. “It is always easy to complain that shit happens but as an optimist change can come from good.”
Despite taking his inspiration from yoga and his more metaphysical self, Halley is quick to point out that Shift Happens is a very physical dance.
“I’m not just on stage meditating,” he laughed again. “There a physicality that people can connect with. Because I also do theatre I don’t just go into an abstract la-la land. I enjoy being a human on stage, being honest and with some honest story telling.”
The LOLA Projects
Scotiabank Dance Centre, 667 Davie Street, Vancouver
1 March 2012 @ 8pm
The LOLA Projects, a Victoria-based initiative supporting collaboration between Victoria and Vancouver dance artists, comes to Vancouver for the first time with a program of varied solos by four choreographers – two from each city: Anne Cooper and Iris Wing-Chi Lau from Vancouver, who perform existing works, and Robert Halley and Treena Stubel from Victoria, who have created new pieces in response to Cooper and Lau’s, under the mentorship of Joe Laughlin, Artistic Director of Joe Ink.
The LOLA Projects are named after the much-loved choreographer Lola MacLaughlin who passed away in 2009, and the evening will also include the presentation of the first $10,000 Lola Award for mid-career/senior choreographers, which was established in her memory.