I’ve been artisting for 26 years. More or less. I wrote at least seven grants before I got my first one.
Recently someone read my birth chart and said that while my mission is to shine because Leo is my rising sign, it takes a long time because my sun sign is Capricorn and it’s governed by Saturn. Saturn is a slow mover. But they go BIG. Imagine. It takes Saturn 28 years to do the full rotation – imagine all the places they go, what they see. I mean proverbially.
I envision the complex projects. Once I was pitching a really complicated project that involved so much producing. And the person said, why don’t you just make the piece on student dancers. And I was like, oh yeah, that would be simple. But. But. But. I’ll tell you why.
I did make that piece with the student dancers. And it wasn’t what I wanted, it was great research for what I wanted. Over the course of the next 4 years, I made the piece that I wanted to make with emerging professional dancers, and we toured it through schools and it has made an impact on more that 10,000 pre-teens, teenagers, their educators and programmers. Now that is something.
That was The Love Project. And it was a cheeky, sassy, sexy, super physical dance-theatre piece for 5 dancers talking about elements of healthy relationships.
I am so amazed at how far we’ve come. Suddenly. There’s a duet in The Love Project. It’s pretty sexy. It gets a lot of response from the audience. The pre-teens giggle, the teens gasp. It’s pretty great. For several years I remounted the piece with different casts, so there were many emerging dancers who got to do it. The duet is often danced by a gay man and a queer woman. It’s just how it happens. I keep wanting to remount it with two womxn. It isn’t ancient history – the last time we did it was the beginning of 2018. That’s not even 5 years ago. And it would have been scandalous. When we showcased the piece in Vancouver I was told by lots of educators (queer adults) that BC wasn’t as progressive as Ontario. This is hilarious (#FordNation). I digress. The point being, the work didn’t get booked in BC at all. And I’ve never remounted the duet on two womxn.
Remember the touring show that came to your middle school or high school and changed your life? That showed you that there was something more out there than the self-involved, small world that seemed like everything, but was only a tiny piece of the very big universe?
That’s why I fought for The Love Project. Each time we remounted and toured it, the fee that the school paid was about $20 short of what it cost to pay the dancers for the day, me, and the day-rate rental car. Which means that each time we performed it, I volunteered and donated. BUT, 10,000 kids saw the piece. The teens who saw it at a high school dance conference stomped so long and whistled so loud and gushed so profusely afterwards. That’s why. (If only we could live on fumes and great feels.)
So back to the big planets that go far. My favourite proverb, that I also feel is like a vitamin that I don’t want to swallow, is that if you want to go fast, go alone, if you want to go far, go together. This as a maxim is hard for every part of my life.
During the pandemic I gathered my resources and decided to embark on a really big project. It’s funny because as it takes shape I wonder why it is taking so long. I mean I know. I didn’t know what it was going to be. I had to try a lot of things and as it’s my most autobiographical and most abstract work, it’s taken time to sort myself and it.
And it’s anything but a solo. Solos are fast. Ensembles with designed environments and interstitial installations and chorus’ mean a lot of people to coordinate, manage and pay. That’s not even any of the creative arting part.
And now that I’ve finally got it choreographed in broad strokes, I see where I want to go back in and dig and delve and craft and tickle and specify and make gut wrenchingly good each part. Anatomalia
We made a podcast during the last residency. It’s about big teams and long projects and how we dance to the music. It’s pretty good. Take a listen.
photo: Tristán Pérez-Martín;
dancers: Meagan O’Shea, Jennifer Dahl, Arantza Lopez Medina, Areli Moran Mayoral, Cathy Walsh