Kinetic Studio fosters contemporary dance through providing professional development, workshops and resources to choreographers and dancers and producing performances throughout the year. This season’s last studio series takes place this Saturday and Sunday (March 24 & 25, 8PM). Artistic Director of Kinetic Studio, Sheilagh Hunt, shares her passion for dance and hints at the diverse delights audience members will see at Halifax’s DANSpace this weekend.
AE: How did you first become involved with Kinetic Studio?
SH: I have been dancing in Halifax for 30+ years. In the early days there were few outlets for choreographers to show their independent work. A group of professional dance artists was formed as part of Dance Nova Scotia, (the dance umbrella organization in NS), and we operated a small series of performances for a number of years. In 2003, with assistance from the Canada Council, a new series was created to continue the work, but with more stability than previously. We have been presenting local, regional and national choreographers ever since.
AE: What have been some of the highlights of Kinetic Studio’s 2011-2012 season?
SH: I am always excited to see the work that is being developed in this province. Contemporary dance includes a variety of dance forms, ideas, and techniques, and we welcome that variety. From Jazz, to Hip Hop, ballet to improvisation, to performance art, we reflect what is going on in the community. This past year we have included video installation/dance work by Véronique Mackenzie with artist Susan Tooke and musician Lukas Pearse. Sara Coffin, recently returned from BC, used real time video that captured her moves on screen in a trio of images, while Anne Davison, who is an accomplished cellist, wove dance and ‘sourced’ music into her imagery.
AE: What will Kinetic Studio’s final performance showcase in terms of emerging and established talent and diversity?
SH: This performance is a challenge. I wanted to have Sasha Kleinplatz from Montreal, and this package included six male dancers and a musician. Sasha is a young choreographer who has been making a name for herself in many dance communities, and I was intrigued by her fresh approach. Kathleen Doherty grew up and danced in the Halifax area, but chose to further her studies at Decidedly Jazz Dance in Calgary, and her style is informed by that company. She hasn’t shown her work to a Halifax audience since she left a few years ago, so we look forward to see where her studies have led her. Sarah Cox, this year’s Explorations recipient, is an established artist who is working with live musicians in a piece called Northern Lights, that is an homage to her late Bugaku (Japanese Court Dance) teacher. With her other interest in Butoh, Sarah is bringing the traditional to the contemporary.
AE: What would you like to say to encourage potential audience members who have little experience with dance performance?
SH: We try to make the DANSpace setting as informal as we can, and encourage the audience to chat with the artists after the show. Our audiences cross many ages, backgrounds and interests, and I think we have something for everyone. The tickets are reasonable and a short dance show is the great way to start an evening out.
AE: How does Kinetic Studio promote Halifax’s and Canada’s thriving dance scene? SH: Kinetic Studio is here to support established and emerging choreographers who have chosen a very difficult career. Kinetic Studio gives an affordable venue for performance and helps to make connections across the country to other presenting organizations. Our Explorations program helps a choreographer pull together the necessary ingredients to take their work on the road. With assistance for photo shoots, technical assistance, studio rental assistance, the Explorations choreographer has more of the tools necessary to make the next move, and take their work outside the province.
AE: What are your goals for Kinetic Studio’s 2012-2013 season?
SH: When something works well, you don’t want to mess with it. The Series will continue, we have a great weeklong workshop with Marc Boivin for the professional dance community slated for this May, we will continue with our 1313 workshop series where dancers and musicians meet to make sound and movement in conjunction with suddenly LISTEN, and I am planning a mainstage performance for next March. Details to come…
AE: How does dance play an important role in your personal and professional life?
SH: I continue to create new work as an individual artist, and share dance enthusiasm with new students through teaching. Dance is an art form, and… an important activity for physical strength and agility. As I get older, I am very conscious of the benefits of continuing to stay active and encourage anyone who can to take part - just choose your dance style.
AE: Is there anything you’d like to add?
SH: Tickets are sold at the door. $12 regular. $8 seniors/students and CADA and Kinetic Studio members. We hope to see you there.