PuSh Community Questions with Artist Amber Funk Barton
February 10, 2020
1) For how long have you been involved with PuSh? Since when have you been attending the festival?
Oh wow, I remember being involved with PuSh as early as 2005. Specifically, I did a pitch presentation which led to an opportunity to perform at Chapter Arts Centre in Cardiff, Wales so PuSh has always had a special place in my heart!
2) What do you most enjoy about PuSh?
For me, PuSh is about challenging what performance can be. I am really digging the blend of both local and international artists and I think it’s really awesome that the festival is held during one of the most challenging times of the year, weather wise, in Vancouver.
3) Can you tell us about a show at this year’s festival that has particularly resonated with you?
I am still vibrating from watching Frontera!
4) Has anything you’ve seen at PuSh 2020 surprised or challenged you?
I had the privilege this year of working with Neworld Theatre and Back to Back Theatre for The Democratic Set. Every day on set I was reminded how naturally creative we all are as human beings and that there is so much joy when we are all given the opportunity to shine. This kind of work, which I love, keeps making me question what is community and how can we authentically interact, be creative together and essentially celebrate our creativity.
5) If you could take any 3 PuSh 2020 artists to dinner who would you choose and where would you take them?
Oh, this is really hard! But if I had to choose…well then I would take Dana Michel, Veda Hille and Dana Gingras to Di Beppe on Cordova in Gastown.
Born and raised in Vancouver, Amber is a cisgendered woman of mixed race decent. She received her training with Goh Ballet Academy, Arts Umbrella, The Banff Centre Dance Training and Ballet British Columbia’s Mentor Program. As a dancer she has worked with various companies and choreographers, such as Joe Laughlin (Joe INK), Gail Lotenberg (LINK dance), Judith Marcuse (Judith Marcuse Projects), Lola MacLaughlin (Lola Dance), Martha Carter (Marta Marta Productions), Jennifer Mascall (Mascall Dance), Day Helesic (MovEnt), Lee su-feh (battery opera), Karen Jamieson (Karen Jamieson) Dance Company), Josh Beamish (MOVE: the company), Dana Gingras (Animals of Distinction), and Heather Laura Gray. She has also been featured as a guest artist with Company 605 and over the past year, has performed in Neworld Theatre’s King Arthur’s Night.
As a choreographer, Amber’s work has been presented in various venues in Vancouver, across Canada, and internationally at the Chapter Arts Centre (Wales), the NW New Works Festival in (Seattle), and the BAAD!ASS Women Festival (Bronx, New York). In 2019, Amber was invited to reimagine the classic work of The Firebird for Ballet Kelowna. Her work has also extended into theatre choreographing for Horseshoes and Hand Grenades, collaborating with theatre director Mindy Parfitt of Search Party Productions, Studio 58 and Alley Theatre.
In 2008, Amber established her own Vancouver based contemporary dance company, the response.