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This is my new piece Bloodletting and Other Pleasant Things with Toronto’s Dancemakers. This work is inspired by stumbling upon the venomous hateful comments in internet forums. By being ‘anonymous’, many people are for some reason able to spew their frustrations and anger in the most vile manner. Perhaps it is with this outlet to purge, people are then able to engage as a member of society in a civilized manner. What is with all the hate?
Image by David Hou of Steeve Paquet and Ben Kamino in Bloodletting and Other Pleasant Things
We are heading into the Tech Residency for Bloodletting and Other Pleasant Things this week and we seem to be already behind. With the Thanksgiving long weekend and pressure to have something for the Avant Premiere on Saturday, everything seems just a little more difficult. Went into the theatre yesterday and found that we had a skeletal crew working therefore nothing was ready. Hopefully today will be a different story, I want to see the lights hung, the seating configuration placed, and the set up of the decor. Our lighting designer Kim is to be focusing the lights as well today so there is so much to do. The dancers are in tomorrow rehearsing and working within her lighting plot (design). I have to fly back to Ottawa for a day on Wednesday which makes our schedule extremely tight and difficult. I guess I’m starting to feel the stress. The piece needs some tweaking and certain elements might need to be changed however it is not very far from being ready.
The dancers (the incredible Kate Holden, Kate Hilliard, Ben Kamino, Steeve Paquet, and Robert Abubo) are going through an incredible physical and emotional journey in Bloodletting…. and with the incredible help of my collaborators Bonnie Kim and Jacob Zimmer, they are diving fearlessly into this crazy place. They’re hungry to find the deeper and darker aspects of human rage without falling into clichés. We’re looking for some honest brutality while at the same time not going overboard on generalizations and that… is what I find interesting. We are slowly carving and chipping away at the surface to reveal a world that is honest and often times very complicated. It is going to be an incredible experience for the audience, myself and for the Dancemaker performers on the premiere October 22, 2008 at Dancemakers studios 8:00pm. It is going to rock! Hope to see you there.
Well goddamn, I think I’ve got a piece after two weeks of work here in Toronto! As with my past works, I’m again exploring a dark and intense place. The point of departure of this creation was to explore the states of rage, rants, anger, brutality in society and how it affects our psyche. There is no denying the fact that I’m pushing the limits in this creation with Dancemakers; it is disturbing, offensive, brutal but in the end I hope it leaves the viewer feeling reflective rather than destroyed. After the showing on Friday afternoon, I believe no one was indifferent to the work or to the dancers’ performance. Some people approached me afterwards and told me how much it moved them, hit them in the gut, and how it left them feeling stunned. There were many who just avoided me, some skipped around the subject of the piece and out of courtesy mentioned certain images that they liked. In reality, the in your face tactic of the piece either captured or turned off the viewer. Some didn’t know how to react to the aggressive nature of the dance and perhaps was not prepared to have their senses assaulted on a Friday afternoon. After watching it with a public, it became obvious where things can be tightened, defined, changed, or even reworked. Overall however, I believe this creation was a huge success in many ways. I was able to explore and push beyond the safety zone because of one thing only; the trust of the dancers. The dancers were so fierce and so willing to go to this place with me and that was the reason why we were able to achieve this with only just 2 weeks of work. Thank you to the generosity of Benjamin Kamino, Kate Hiliard, Kate Holden, Steeve Paquet, Clinton Draper, the dancers of Dancemakers, you rock and it was a privilege to create with you. Thank you, thank you, thank you.