An Intimate Studio Showing: Music and Dance with Ballet BC and UVic School of Music

In celebration of donor support and generosity

Experience an exciting collaborative program of music and dance moderated by dance historian, Associate Professor and Dean of Fine Arts Dr. Allana Lindgren on March 13 at Dance Victoria Studios and via livestream.
 
Collaboration, composition, and improvisation are at the heart of this program. Three dancers/choreographers from Ballet BC and three composers/musicians/sound artists from the UVic School of Music collaborated remotely to create new dance and music compositions that will be shared for the first time in our studios! There will be an opportunity for Q&A with the creators following the works.

Learn more about each artistic collaboration below.


Livona Ellis. Photo: Brendan Meadows
Livona Ellis. Photo: Brendan Meadows

Livona: My name is Livona (she/her), and I am a dance artist and choreographer based out of Vancouver, on the unceded territories of the Coast Salish Peoples: Sḵwxw̱ú7mesh (Squamish), Stó:lōand Səlí̓lwətaʔ/Selilwitulh (Tsleil-Waututh) and xʷməθkʷəyə̓m (Musqueam) Nations. My work has always been a way for me to process and articulate ideas and questions that I have about life. I use dance as a way to embody my thoughts and to amplify them. I use music as an inspiration for the tone of the work and as a way to lay the landscape for my ideas. I love how music can live in harmony with dance or in complete disarray, and that its relationship to moving bodies is a way to magnify what I am trying to say. My departure point for this work was the feeling of nostalgia. Thinking of beautiful memories that bring me great pain and joy. This longing for people in my past while feeling catapulted forward by the passing of time. This was an interesting concept to explore in collaboration with composer Christopher Butterfield. We had many discussions about what nostalgia meant and how to evoke this feeling through music. How to find that right note, or melody, or perfect amount of silence that will bring forward a complex layering of emotions. Learn more about Livona Ellis.

Christopher Butterfield
Christopher Butterfield

Christopher: I like using minimum means to achieve something larger. My last two pieces were installations: a 17-channel drone in one case, motorized sleighbells in the other. I think the next one will be cheap and noisy. I’m not sure where music lies at this point. Maybe the dance will find it. Maybe vice versa. Learn more about Christopher Butterfield.

Zenon Zubyk Photo: Brendan Meadows
Zenon Zubyk Photo: Brendan Meadows

Zenon: My creative process centres around the paradoxical concept of dance as a non-performative act. How can a multitude of ideas and lived experiences exist within a single moment? How does the act of questioning what performance is inherently change the nature of the dancers’ approach to the work? I often play with severe contrasts, flipping instantaneously between moments of extreme intimacy and moments of massive outward disruption. I look for the nuance in each moment and pay close attention to how the mind and body might transition from one state to the next. I’m interested in how far we can trick ourselves into believing a proposed reality. In a sense, becoming a decoy version of yourself. How can this decoy version of you relate to and perform a predetermined piece of choreography all while experiencing the present moment?

Musically, I also look for dynamic contrasts and spaces that allow for moments of mystery to emerge. This past summer I collaborated with two Vancouver based musicians and directed/choreographed an outdoor show that blurred the lines of what would be considered performance and would simply be random non-choreographed happenings. I had the performers switch back and forth between being observers of the show to active participants throughout the evening. I wanted to leave the viewers with the task of determining which elements were predetermined and which occurred out of complete spur of the moment randomness. On top of that, we had radios set up throughout the space with a pre-recorded version of the hour-long audio of the show. The audio was broadcasted live through the radios on CJSFM at the exact moment the show began, and the two musicians played live simultaneously. It became even more difficult for the viewer to get a grasp on exactly how the present moment was taking shape.

In this collaboration, I hope for the development of the work to be very much a conversation between myself and the composer. I would love to be able to interact directly with the composer and really get a feel for what he wants to express artistically. My work is largely influenced by sound, and I work best in a collaborative state. Learn more about Zenon Zubyk.

Anthony Tan. Photo: Helene Cyr
Anthony Tan. Photo: Helene Cyr

Anthony: My music explores the polarities between sonic and aesthetic extremes. I search for the simultaneity of euphony and cacophony, stillness and disturbance, attraction and repulsion. I trained classically as a composer and pianist, but I’m not sure if I identify as such anymore. I‘m often creating chimeras – music inspired by diverse sound sources and genres. For the collaboration with Ballet BC, I’m exploring the sound of the dancers dancing, musicians musicking, warming up and rehearsingLearn more about Anthony Tan.

Justin Rapaport. Photo: Brendan Meadows
Justin Rapaport. Photo: Brendan Meadows

Justin: Choreographing is an enigma to me. It’s always changing in my presence and adapting to my thoughts. Ideas loom in my head and they trickle out in the form of movements, usually accidental. I believe in the value of interpretation. I love and encourage the artists I work with to translate movements and ideas so they can be their most authentic selves within the work and movement.

Some questions that drove this piece: What is paradise? How do we transcend to the next threshold? How to we receive this mysterious journey to the next phase? Who do we become on the other side? What is left behind that didn’t define who we are, the superficial that was covering who we really are, your pure self?

I want to thank Patrick so much for his generosity and ingenuity in the collaboration. A great partner to collaborate and discuss these ideas with and translate them into dance and song. Learn more about Justin Rapaport.

Patrick Boyle
Patrick Boyle

Patrick: I compose myself into corners on purpose, like an old-time cartoon of someone painting a floor and realizing there’s no safe way out. Style and genre have less than zero appeal, but I don’t deny my background in jazz and country music. Every influence rubs against the next. If a sound serves the moment, then that’s the sound. Resisting classification is more everyday attire than a hat I take on and off a rack.

My most recent commercial release is LULL, a six-hour set of music designed for sleep and rest using sampled sounds from my apartment in lockdown. Of note is my work harnessing the sonic majesty of pistachio shells being thrown basketball style into little bowls at different distances. I’d be interested in trying further sampling and reimagining of everyday objects, including speech, for this Ballet BC collaboration. I’ve been working with field recordings of some older sermons around sin and redemption that compel me. I have a lot of experience with interdisciplinary collaborations, and I am so thrilled to be a part of this initiative. Let’s get to work! Learn more about Patrick Boyle.