For the dancers involved, Aszure Barton is the major draw to being part of Awaa.
Dancers Jonathan Alsberry, Tobin Del Cuore and William Briscoe all agree, Barton is their reason for signing on to this challenging piece exploring the feminine.
So what makes Barton so special to work with? Collaborative dance pieces can be rife with egos and watered down material, but Barton seems to have created an environment that fosters expression, creativity, and fun in her dancers, all the while holding onto her vision as a choreographer.
“In much of Aszure’s work, most of the basic movement comes from the dancers. From that point Aszure molds and expands the movement into something most often entirely different,” Del Cuore explains. “It is incredible to see this transformation. I’ve worked in a similar manner with other choreographers, but none have the same remarkable, transformative control over the material.”
The dancers weren’t the only ones collaborating in the space either. Developed in Alberta’s Banff Centre for the Performing Arts, rehearsals included the designers and composers, creating their work alongside the dancers. The result was a process that Briscoe says was “full of laughter, humour, revelations, and discovery”, including the development of an entire section where the soundtrack is percussion using only the dancers bodies as instruments.
Using their bodies as instruments isn’t the only off-the-norm aspect to Awàa. Without getting too specific, the dancers hinted at a movement style that might be surprising for dance enthusiasts.
While Awàa is billed as “considering the hard and the soft, the curved and the sharp memories of the feminine”, Barton’s collaborative methodology meant the male dancers did not feel left out.
All three dancers shared the common view that as men they have both masculine and feminine sides of their own personalities to explore, as well as outside influences to draw upon. Del Cuore cited memories of important women in his life as well as iconic figures in art and cultue, while Briscoe referred to his six sisters. For Alsberry though it was much simpler: “let’s face it, Aszure celebrates us gays”.
In fact, when asked what he hopes the audience will experience in Awàa, he enthused, “the funniest, gayest baptism ever complete with hot, wet, half-naked men.”
24 – 28 October 2012
Norman & Annette Rothstein Theatre
Part of the 2012 Chutzpah! Festival. Tickets are available by calling 604-257-5111 or online at Tickets Tonight. Visit http://chutzpahfestival.com for more information.
Andrea is a theatre-maker, yoga instructor, writer and ally to the LGBTQ community in Vancouver. She spends her days as the Communications Manager for Pacific Theatre, and is Co-Artistic Producer for Xua Xua Productions, a founding member of Les Petites Taquines Dance Theatre, and the marketing chair for the Jessie Richardson Theatre Awards Society. She writes a weekly column for VancouverisAwesome.com and freelances as a yoga instructor and choreographer. When she has some down time she enjoys some green tea and quality time with her cat, Miss Gertie Marie.