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Outside the Box with Winnipeg’s Contemporary Dancers

With the launch of our newest philanthropy piece for Winnipeg’s Contemporary Dancers, we wanted to give you a little more background on the piece itself by speaking with Brent Lott, Artistic Director of WCD. Find out why contemporary dance is an essential part of the community, how the necklace itself represents the field, and a bit about the WCD’s upcoming performance of DUETS.


Can you explain to our readers what contemporary dance is and its importance in our community?

Contemporary dance is a vital and provocative genre that propels the art form forward through innovation and experimentation. Sometimes referred to as modern dance, this artistic practice uses the whole body as its canvas. There is no set movement syllabus or definitive style but an openness to all the possibilities inherent in the wonders of the human body. How, where and why the body moves is determined by the choreographers’ interests, intentions and/or questions. At its finest, contemporary dance arouses curiosity, stimulates discussion, challenges how we see and understand the world and provokes change in how we interact with each other and our environment.

As you can tell, I believe there are many reasons why contemporary dance is important. I would like, however, to expand on how modern dance propels the art form forward. Contemporary dance attracts creators who are risk takers; those who think ‘Outside the Box’. What our audiences experience at a modern dance performance can be seen years (20-40) later in large Concert Hall-like venues being performed by ballet companies. It takes time, money and embracing the possibility of failure to innovate. In dance the trajectory that leads to the big stage often begins with contemporary dance. So if you are interested in this continuum; if you like the idea of experiencing the exhilaration of birthing, I encourage you to think ‘Outside the Box’ and check out some contemporary dance.


How does the piece reflect your organization?

With this necklace Hilary Druxman has perfectly captured what contemporary dance is! What began as a conversation about who WCD is and how contemporary dance fits into the vast and varied world of dance, became a piece of jewelry; a work of art itself. Hilary has transformed a philosophical discussion into a necklace. I see the square portion as being the wider artistic form, dance. I see the triangular portion, that is suspended by the form, as contemporary dance. The triangle, like contemporary dance, dangles (or dabbles) “Outside the Box”, catching and casting light as it moves through time and space. It is perfect! I cannot thank Hilary enough.

What do you hope this necklace will do for your organization?

Stimulate conversation! If this necklace can get people to discuss how it evokes contemporary dance then I am more than pleased. If those discussions lead to new audiences, I will be even happier!


You must be excited about WCD’s upcoming performance DUETS. Can you tell us about the show?

DUETS is, as the title suggests, a program of works for two dancers. I am extremely excited for this show as it sees the return of two choreographers who got their start creating in Winnipeg; former WCD Artistic Director Tedd Robinson and former WCD dancer Lesandra Dodson. Robinson’s work, a world premiere commissioned by Winnipeg’s dancing dynamo, Alexandra Elliot, opens the evening with an intoxicatingly mythic duet performed by Elliot and Ian Mozden. Dodson’s duet, TWIGS, is a riveting world premiere performed by WCD dancers Ali Robson and Aaron Paul. Set to original music and text performed live by one of Winnipeg’s favourite singer/songwriters, Christine Fellows, TWIGS will be a feast for the eyes and ears. The third work programmed for the evening is the remount of my 2012 duet, ANGLE OF REPOSE. I originally made this duet for a man (Mark Medrano) and a woman (Kayla Henry). This time however, it is being performed by two woman. Why you ask?…Because it’s 2016! You will not want to miss what WCD dancers Jasmine Allard and Alexandra Winters pull off with this extremely physical duet that explores with bodies ‘the maximum slope, measured in degrees from the horizontal, at which loose solid material will remain in place without sliding’ or, the ANGLE OF REPOSE.

Any tips for aspiring dancers?

Think ‘Outside the Box’!

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DUETS runs April 21st – 23rd, 2016 at The Rachel Browne Theatre at 8pm. Get involved in the world of contemporary dance and enjoy something new that may be outside your box by purchasing your tickets to this fantastic show.

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