Curatorial Statement – Joyce Rosario on Inheritor Album
December 26, 2013
We are on the verge of leaving 2013 behind. Many of us are taking stock of the past year, how we’ve succeeded and failed, what we’ve accomplished or not, and how we might resolve to do it all over again, but different or better, for 2014. I know that’s where my mind is this time of year. Outside of our personal lives, we also reflect on world events and the environmental, political and cultural changes that have come to pass and that will shape the year to come.
This is exactly the sentiment 605 Collective embodies in Inheritor Album through dance. Described as “a serenity prayer in motion”, the work is an exploration of generations and inheritance: What has come before us, and what will we leave behind? How do we create change?
For me, dance is so resonant because there are ideas and emotions that words just fail to express. To be moved by dance is to come to an understanding of our self, the world and each other–through our own bodies, and witnessing bodies in motion. Inheritor Album is about this generation, an information age when we are bombarded by information and overwhelmed by choice. It’s about coming of age, realizing that our choices have consequence, not just for ourselves and others but generations to come.
I’ve followed Inheritor Album from its very beginning until now and am thrilled to see the work again, this time at the PuSh Festival. I’m excited to bring it back for audiences who saw it the first time and couldn’t get enough, and even more so to share this work with newer audiences to dance and those who have not seen 605 Collective in action.
Below is an interview between myself and Lisa Gelley and Josh Martin, core artists of Vancouver’s 605 Collective. I caught up with them via email after their busy fall touring Canada. Read on to learn more about this exciting work and the process behind its making.
Joyce Rosario, Associate Curator
PuSh International Performing Arts Festival
JR: Will the production at the PuSh Festival have the same performers as the premiere?
LG+JM: The original production of Inheritor Album last year in 2012 included both of us performing along with Laura Avery, Justine A. Chambers, Shay Kuebler and David Raymond. The cast is going through some big changes due to dancer availability! We are working with three new dancers: Renée Sigouin, Hayden Fong, and Waldean Nelson. Original cast members Laura Avery, Josh Martin, and Lisa Gelley are still in the work.
JR: Inheritor Album had its local premiere last year at the Vancouver Playhouse. For PuSh, the work will be in the Faris Family Studio Theatre at The Dance Centre. Aside from adapting the piece to a different venue, will there be significant changes?
LG+JM: We are reconsidering the piece not only for The Dance Centre, but also in terms of smaller venues that will most likely come up as the work tours. After PuSh, the next stop is the Metro Theatre in Victoria, which is even smaller than the Faris. We want to really get creative about using these smaller venues to still make the work look full and explosive.
This is the first time we are working on Inheritor Album at length since the premiere so we will be adjusting things spatially and technically, but also doing some editing of choreography and attempting changes to the orders of the “tracks” or sections. Of course, with three new dancers, we will be giving space for them to influence the work as well.
JR: Before Inheritor Album, you developed a work-in-progress version, Inheritor EP, and part of the original concept in building the piece was to have individual “tracks” that could stand alone, much like songs on an album. Is this something that is still apparent in this upcoming version?
LG+JM: Yes, this is still one of our big goals, and a way of adapting the piece to different venues and multiple contexts. It was difficult when transitioning from the EP to the Album to make the distinction between tracks that stand on their own and tracks that seemed to effortlessly flow together. So we are still brainstorming ways to make the transition between tracks more distinct, more like a concert where its clear that a song has ended, and there is an expectation to then hear something entirely different and separate from what just happened.
It certainly still feels like they are interchangeable, as we are going to be experimenting with the order for this next round. It would be great if we could get the work to a place where the sections acted as a set list, and we could play the tracks in different orders without huge consequence.
JR: Has your relationship to the original themes (inheritance, succession) changed since you began the work?
LG+JM: The interesting thing about remounting the work is that now we are passing on these roles to three new dancers, and embedded in the work are the choices and influences of the original three who are not in the work this time around. In September we performed sections from Inheritor Album at Fall For Dance Festival in New York, and it was immediately apparent that the new cast members were inheriting situations from those who had come before. It’s interesting to be able to celebrate change in that way when the themes of inheritance and succession are in the work. This piece is supported by those who originally created it, and is going to change and grow with this next generation of performers who are taking it on. Because of this, we are thinking about these themes that can exist in micro-versions as well, how inheritance can happen over the span of a year even.
As we get more and more involved in our communities, and more and more of our friends have kids, and we become more and more connected to a global network of people – there is a growing sense of responsibility in many ways. And while we all felt it coming when we started talking about Inheritor Album in 2010, this became far more real and present. I think as a generation we now feel less impatient about “being heard”, and more concerned with what we’re actually trying to say.
JR: Any final thoughts you’d like to share?
LG+JM: Just that 605 Collective is incredibly excited to be a part of the PuSh Festival, it’s a big opportunity and really means a lot to be a part of an international performing arts festival while also showing our work again in Vancouver. We are also really thankful for The Dance Centre’s support as we remount the work.