For some strange reason my trip back to my hometown this time around was like starring in an episode of the Twilight Zone. I was literally in a time warp witnessing life rapidly advanced before my very eyes – suddenly transported or pushed into the future. In fact my flight was more of a time travel that brought me years ahead into the future rather than being my simple annual visit to see my family. Everyone that I have had a chance to see here has in some form physically changed from the last time I’ve encountered them. How could this have happened so quickly and how have I’ve never ever noticed it before? Within a span of two years, everyone and everything has physically gone through a noticeable aging process which means that I too must have aged dramatically in the eyes of others… and that sudden realization has hit me hard. I am no longer the person who I thought I was while instead I’ve become myself in the future. That means that I too must have grown up and have become older…. much older. Why is this so shocking? I guess I’ve always continued to view myself and everyone else around me as the youthful, energetic, starry-eyed, idealistic 20 year olds. Now does that mean that I should wake up a face reality? The aging process is sometimes still a surprising reality for me. I have subconsciously tried to ignore it but obviously can no longer avoid it.
Wow what an incredible privilege it was to perform on stage with my best friends here in Montreal! The last couple of weeks were all about learning to cook, eating, drinking, playing/creating/ with amazingly talented people. As this doesn’t happen very often anymore, I can really appreciate the significance of this experience. My friend Sabrina decided to gather a bunch of us to help perform in her show ‘Les Creux d’Un Rêves’ at Theatre LaChapelle after her original production fell through last minute. It was a blast to have had the chance to find ourselves performing with old friends and colleagues once again. We were all very tired as most of us had other obligations such as jobs, school, and other commitments however it was all worthwhile as it truly was a labour of love for all of us. I was reminded about how talented all of my friends really are. It was beautiful to watch, dance and share these precious moments together. Thank you!
Working on a new work with the Collective DeuxplusTrois=Un (Lucie Vigneault, Judith Allen, and Caroline Sirois). We had a informal showing in December 2009 and since then I’ve made some much needed changes. It is now a half hour piece of pure dance. I’m currently working with a score made up of popular music but that may eventually change if we decide to. However, I really am quite attached to the work of Montreal’s Patrick Watson as it seems to fit so well with the dancing. Hopefully we will have a chance to show the work to the general public very soon as it is really good and fun!
This week we got our chef’s uniform and knives. Will be in the kitchen learning French techniques. Super excited! First we begin with stocks.
Cooking and Creating Dances…. I like that combination…
The making and eating of food has always been a passion and a way of life to me. I love the idea of creating good healthy meals and sharing it with people. I personally prefer the concept of ordering things for the table where everyone eats the same dishes rather than individually ordering a meal for themselves. Coming from an Asian culture, I grew up in an environment and culture where the central social activity was based around eating together. I essentially grew up being around, thinking and talking about food. My family’s social events were all rooted around cooking, eating and drinking. Since I was a child, I always observed the way my parents and other people prepared meals in the kitchen. I realized that I picked up habits by watching how others cooked. It is such a beautiful art form. As an artist in the performing arts, I have always been inventive, creative, daring and curious. I see an uncanny parallel with cooking to dance making. It takes hard work, creativity, passion and a joy in what you are doing to become successful in anything.
I am very familiar and aware that the restaurant business is difficult and entails hard stressful work. My romantic outlook on cooking is balanced equally with a very pragmatic side. My father worked all of his life in restaurants and he had his own restaurant for a number of years in Vancouver. I myself worked in my father’s restaurant along with other eating establishments for years as a cook, busboy, bartender, and waiter to pay my way through school. It is a very competitive milieu and it constantly takes an innovative, fun and fresh approach to be relevant.
Wow, have to redefine what I was and then construct what I am to be…. again! This is an ongoing process that might never end. What a thought….
Just read a couple of quotes that I thought was pretty appropriate:
The three things we crave most in life –happiness, freedom, and peace of mind –are always attained by giving them to someone else. Conway
“Ultimately we know deeply that the other side of every fear is a freedom” M Ferguson
Is this why we are artists? Seeking knowledge, pursuing truths, understanding fear by freely creating.
I am acknowledging the unknown as I am trying to find my way. Well, that is what I think that I am doing at the moment…. Just turned down a couple of creative projects and currently thinking of turning down two others. Creativity has to come from a real place other than just for the sake of being creative. I am clearing my path of distractions in order to see a clearer picture of what it is that needs to be built. This is what I call lucid creativity. Whether this is about art or just the art of living, it helps to be conscious or be aware of what it is and why it is that we are doing.
Well we are now in the middle of the final week of Chanti’s process. Everything is coming together and taking shape as we head into today’s, Friday’s and Saturday’s showing in front of an audience. It is funny, often the choreographer only begins to truly ‘see’ the work while there are ‘witnesses’ to his/her work. What may seem so clear and ‘obvious’ in their heads may not be so evident to others who are disengaged or are not privileged to the actual process. Chanti has been working hard and doing a great job in making sense of the world that she has created. The work has come a long ways from just a couple of days ago as it is becoming a very interesting study. As well as exploring an idea of nature and man, Chanti’s goal here was to challenge herself by not relying so much on improvisation. She has been using the Lab to its’ potential and has taken advantage of the opportunity to craft and choreograph movement phrases. This has been a good learning process for Chanti as she is learning how to create on a group of dancers that she is not familiar with. I can tell the dancers are at times having a difficult time in this process with their glazed over eyes and subtle signs of annoyance. They have been all very good sports in being patient and professional as this is part and parcel of being an interpreter at Le Groupe Dance Lab. Their role is to be generous and to help the choreographer the best they can and I recognize that can be very trying at times. It is just human nature to be impatient however patience and versatility are the virtues that make a Le Groupe dancer unique and special. I’ve spoken to Chanti about being more clear, to make decisive choices, and be perhaps less esoteric in the directions. Of course each artist has their own method of working and that must be accepted however communication is always an issue that can always be improved upon. It is an ongoing challenge for her but at least she recognizes her difficulties. It is challenging to be here as there are so many pressures that the choreographer must face with their time at the Lab; a short intensive creative time, unfamiliar dancers, a monitor that is constantly on their backs, creative decisions to be made, media, and a viewing audience. I believe the outcome of her process will be extremely valuable to Chanti’s path as a choreographer. Not only is she answering creative questions here at Le Groupe, she is also adapting to different circumstances, situations, and demands. In my opinion whether the work is ‘successful’ or not, this has been a very good Lab.