adaptation . august / by james gnam

Written by Rachel Silver

 

We have begun our residency at the Shadbolt Centre for the Arts. In this labyrinth of a building there are doors everywhere, leading to different rooms and corridors or fire exits. We will occupy a black-box space called the studio theatre for the next twelve days.

We are eight dancers today. The interns mix in with the rest of the cast including Vanessa Goodman, Jane Osborne, Bevin Poole Leinweber and Diego Romero (Lexi Vajda will join us next week). Many of these dancers have been invested in the project for years. As we warm up, Natalie Purschwitz puts final touches on the set, taping down squares of flooring and hanging fabric on the walls.

In these early stages, we are adapting to our new environment and learning to navigate the objects around us as we dance. Purschwitz has created a set that fuses the digital and the tangible world through imagination. The cubes and textures framing the space make it feel like we are caught somewhere between a screen and a hard drive, where our moving bodies are pixelated and undefined.

We’re working with mirroring again: departing from sameness and matching impulses. In four duets we move around the space like a rolling, twisting, morphing being. The constructed space and the changing lights formalize these exercises.

James Proudfoot has been experimenting with colours, strengths, and sources for light as we work. He has a quiet and bold presence, in gentle yet firm command of the light spilling around the room.

There are moments today where it felt like things worked. James Gnam will stop us and say, “That feels like it’s a thing.” We take mental notes.