Miranda Forbes Crowd-Funds Her New Film, WALL STARE

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When dance is your life, and that life is taken from you, what do you do?

Wall Stare is a short dance film currently being crowd-funded on Indiegogo that follows the true story of Miranda Forbes’ journey of recovery and transformation after a devastating brain injury left her unable to do the thing she loved and had trained for her whole life. Rather than succumb to the tragedy, Miranda chose to channel her passion for dance through the medium of film in a project that will enable the viewer to experience what it is like to reclaim one’s life
after enormous loss.

Written and directed by Forbes, the extraordinarily talented Christianne Ullmark (Toronto Dance Theatre) will dance the role of Miranda, with dance legend Kenny Pearl coming on board as Executive Producer.
Wall Stare has already generated excitement within the dance community through teaser footage:  https://vimeo.com/180380026 featuring  Christianne Ullmark and shot by gifted cinematographer Ann Tipper.

Most perks for the campaign are one of a kind items handmade by Miranda herself , and include original art from the film.

All funds generated from Wall Stare’s Indiegogo campaign will enable the project to move forward, filming this fall, with a
release next spring. To visit the Indiegogo page: click here

Artist Profile: Malgorzata Nowacka

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Malgorzata Nowacka is a Toronto-based dancer and choreographer.  She is also the Artistic Director of The Chimera Project (chimeraproject.org), which she founded in 1999.  The Chimera Project not only features Malgorzata’s contemporary-dance choreography but mentors and supports the next generation of dance artists through Company B and FRESH BLOOD.  Most recently Malgorzata’s choreographed work Seance, which she describes as “dark” and “very athletic,” was performed at Ballet Jorgen Canada’s Ballet 360: An Evening of Contemporary Dance at the Betty Oliphant Theatre in Toronto on January 23 and 24, 2015.  

DUO Intern Adam Sidsworth chatted with Mal about life as a dance artist and upcoming work. 

When did you know that you wanted to be a dance artist?

I knew from an early age I wanted to be involved in the arts.  My earliest memories involve drawing, dancing, and playing musical instruments.  I was born into an artistic family in Warsaw, Poland—both my parents are visual artists—so I was immersed in art and visual images and pretty much grew up in art galleries.  I studied at OCAD [Toronto’s visual arts university], and to my knowledge, no other OCAD grad has pursued a dance career.  But when I was at OCAD, I also continued dance training with Debbie Wilson and apprenticed with her company OMO Dance Co. [On her website, Malgorzata cites her artistic background for shaping the strong visual and cinematic style of her creations.]

What are some of your challenges as a dance artist?

Some aspects of business administration are hard for me, especially filing receipts or remembering to mail something.  It can be difficult to wear many hats. [However, Malgorzata appears to relish her multiple roles as an artistic director, choreographer, dancer, and business person.]

How would you compare the mindset of a choreographer to that of a dancer?

When I choreograph, I take in a lot of information watching and interpreting the dancers.  I get so engrossed that at times I forget dancers’ names, even if I’ve known them for a long time. [Malgorzata laughs] When I dance, my only job is to do my best to articulate and manifest the other choreographer’s instructions, without having to worry about the choreographic outcome.

Given your career as a choreographer, can you easily switch roles and dance for other choreographers?

Absolutely!  I love working with other choreographers, and I relish switching from being a decision maker (choreographer) to being an interpreter (dancer).

Do you consider yourself a teacher?

My job is to be an artist, and part of that is conveying information to other people. However, I don’t want to disrespect teachers by calling myself one too because that is a really hard job that takes an immense amount of dedication, and that is not my life’s mission. I love working as a guest artist in schools, though, and training young dancers in their craft through rehearsal, creation, and very vigorous gym workouts. Within the context of The Chimera Project’s Company B, we are currently working with 13 young dancers who are encouraged to take risks, embrace the unpredictable nature of performance, and assert their individuality as much as possible.

Do you teach classes that are open to the public?

I teach an Open Sunday Company Class. [It’s at the Casa Loma Campus of Toronto’s George Brown College at 10 a.m.]  It’s a contemporary ballet class that’s open to everybody, although I recommend at least an intermediate dance level to attend because it’s more intuitive than structured.

What can we expect from you in the 2015?

I’m developing a show called Black or Ange [the show originated at Summerworks Dance 2014.  The Chimera Project website offers a video link that hints at the high energy and intensity of the piece]. I’m also producing new works for Company B.

Then in the fall, The Chimera Project will present FRESH BLOOD, a platform for emerging choreographers to showcase their works in a big venue. It’ll be at the Harbourfront Centre Theatre (formerly Enwave Theatre) this fall.

Artist Profile: Maxine Heppner

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A native of Montreal, Maxine Heppner’s impressive career as an artist spans over 45 years. Maxine has held the titles of director, dancer, choreographer, actor, singer, photographer, production manager and teacher of Contemporary Dance and Interdisciplinary Theatre, often simultaneously. The recipient of numerous awards (including 3 Doras), her work has received international acclaim, and has been shown in festivals worldwide including the Canada Dance Festival, Danceworks, Dancing on the Edge, Athens Olympic Arts Festival, Indonesian International Bienale, and European Cities of Culture. Despite bumps along the way – most recently, she suffered a serious injury and concussion from a bike accident – Maxine’s career shows no sign of slowing down. Known for her bold and innovative projects, community work and creative teachings, DUO is thrilled to be working with Maxine on her upcoming 2015 production OLD STORIES, presented in association with DanceWorks Co-Works. Read Maxine’s full bio HERE.

A big thank you Adam Sidsworth, a George Brown student who completed a Co-op at DUO this past fall, who chatted with Maxine about her professional career.  Below are 10  facts that he gathered about Maxine that you may not know…

  • In Montreal in the 50’s ad 60’s, her dance mentor, Elsie Salomons, instilled in her the aesthetics of German expressionism and the practices of post-modern creation.
  • She moved to Toronto in 1973 to attend York University focusing on dance composition and dance therapy. Upon graduation she worked with adults at the Clarke Institute (CAMH) and children with autism and developmental challenges through the Reena Foundation. She also developed the  14-year contemporary dance division at the Koffler Centre.
  • Before Across Oceans Arts she co-directed and created with Philip Shepherd and Jay Fisher as Dora-winning Phyzikal Theatre, exploring links of dance, theatre, and mime, with David Smukler as tutor and David Fox as stage director. Earlier collaborators include Holly Small, Grindl Kuchirka, and Marie-Josee Chartier.
  • In 1989, a solo bicycle odyssey across Indonesia began her bi-hemispheric career as an ongoing guest artist and collaborator in the contemporary arts communities across East Asia and internationally.
  • From 2001-02-03 she ran the atHome project; 3-week residencies involving over 200 Canadian artists and international partners sharing with the public strategies on collaboration in the arts. A book/dvd collection on the discoveries is available for $10. (To order e-mail info@acrossoceans.org)
  • She now runs the Choreographic Marathon, a three-day ultra-intensive professional exchange on the principles of choreography.
  • She founded the dance program at Claude Watson High School of the Arts and has been faculty at York University, Concordia University, and University of Toronto.
  • She is a trained Action Theatre performer and teacher.
  • She is one of the founders and first chairperson of the Canadian Alliance of Dance Artists (CADA).
  • Alongside her international performance career, her photography and movement videos have been seen worldwide.

 

UP NEXT…

OLD STORIES and a very Short Story Festival
Feb. 5-8, 2015
Scotiabank Studio Theatre (6 Noble St. Toronto)
www.acrossoceans.org

Maxine Heppner’s lifelong fascination with basic impulses and complicated dancing once again takes the stage in her upcoming dance show OLD STORIES which reveals public legends shared by a community of storytellers and the private world of a woman living amongst them.

Presented in association with DanceWorks CoWorks.

Featuring a stellar cast: Takako Segawa, Phyllis Whyte, Junia Mason, Lo Bil and Lilia Leon.

BUY TICKETS ONLINE HERE

JOIN THE FACEBOOK EVENT

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