Winnipeg’s Contemporary Dancers’
Twigs (World Premiere)
choreographer: Lesandra Dodson
songwriter: Christine Fellows
dancers: Ali Robson and Aaron Paul and (understudy Warren McClelland)
Lesandra Dodson & Christine Fellows: “Over our 22-year friendship, we’ve worked together on several projects, mainly in our roles as choreographer and composer. In recent years, our workshops and creative processes have taken a more exploratory form. Twigs was conceived with the goal of breaking out of our traditional creative roles, creating a truly fluid, conversational performance work.
Our conceptual starting-point began with the relationship between Lesandra and her younger brother, Ryan. 16 years ago, Ryan lost the ability to move and communicate in conventional ways. Though these two siblings have vastly different ways of experiencing the world, they share an unbreakable bond. We asked ourselves to view the world from both these perspectives, and moved forward from there, bringing dancers Ali Robson and Aaron Paul in to join us on this exploration. The generosity and depth these two dancers brought to the process was incredibly moving.
We think of Twigs as a duet within a duet. We dedicate this piece to our families.”
This project was made possible with support from artsnb (Manitoba Creative Residency Program), Winnipeg Arts Council (Individual Artist Grant Program), and the generosity and support of host organization WCD.
Currently residing in Fredericton, Vancouver native Lesandra Dodson has been involved in dance since the age of four. Her formative training began at Simon Fraser University, followed by the Professional Program of the School of Contemporary Dance in Winnipeg. After graduating she danced professionally with Le Groupe Dance Lab (Ottawa), Winnipeg Contemporary Dancers, Trip Dance Company (founding member), and various independent choreographers. Over the past 20 years, Lesandra’s interest in choreography and the marriage of different artistic mediums has generated several multidisciplinary video/film productions and commissioned works that have been performed at Theatres and Festivals nation-wide.
Lesandra also acts as a choreographic mentor to help facilitate emerging creators in their creative process, and continues to work and collaborate with established choreographers, musicians and theatre artists. Lesandra earned her BFA Honors in Theatre/Dance (Gold medal Award), is a recipient of the KM Hunter Artists Award (Ontario Arts Council), studied Architecture through the Royal Architectural Institute of Canada and is a passionate advocate for the arts. Lesandra was Executive Director of the Charlotte Street Arts Centre in Fredericton for the past two years, initiating Platform 732, a multi-disciplinary, exploratory presentation series, a comprehensive Artist-in-Residence program and performance intensives for youths. Last season she was Artist-in-Residence at Saint Thomas University, and she is now happy to take on the new role as co-artistic director of the coop, a physical theatre company, in her hometown.
“I am absolutely thrilled to undergo this NB/MB Creative Residency with long-time collaborator Christine Fellows, and the dancers. WCD has been a creative home to me for many years, and supported my artistic journey from the early years as a student in the school up through the ranks of the company. I feel a strong connection to Winnipeg and WCD.”
Christine Fellows is a Winnipeg-based songwriter, performer and interdisciplinary collaborator. She has composed dozens of scores for contemporary dance over the years, including Without Mythologies, Lesandra Dodson’s first full-length commissioned work for Winnipeg’s Contemporary Dancers in 2001, Brent Lott’s full-length work Struck (2008), as well as collaborating on and performing in the live score for Lott’s 2015 work, For the Turnstiles.
In 2014, Fellows released Burning Daylight, her sixth solo album, alongside her first collection of poetry (ARP Books). Throughout 2014-15, she toured Spell To Bring Lost Creatures Home, a performance work created in collaboration with visual artist Shary Boyle, from Inuvik, Northwest Territories to Woody Point, Newfoundland. Along with her partner and collaborator, John K. Samson, she joined University of British Columbia’s Creative Writing Faculty in 2014.
Ali Robson is a dancer, choreographer and teacher based in Winnipeg, Manitoba. Since graduating from the School of Contemporary Dancers in 2004 she has worked in both Vancouver and Winnipeg and performed across Canada. In Vancouver she studied and performed contact improvisation with EDAM under the direction of Peter Bingham and in 2012 performed in Serge Bennathanʼs Elles. Ali worked for three seasons with Winnipegʼs TRIP Dance Company under the artistic direction of Karen Kuzak performing in Herding Instinct and The Art of Displacement. In early 2013, she performed with Winnipeg’s Contemporary Dancers in Toward Light: A Tribute to Rachel Browne and continues to work with the company performing most recently in Brent Lott’s For the Turnstiles.
Ali has worked as dancer, rehearsal director, and movement coach with many artists including Tom Stroud (Company Link), Natasha Torres-Garner, Treasure Waddell, Alexandra Elliott, Claire Marshall, Coral Aiken, Delia Brett (MACHiNENOiSY), Melanie Kuxdorf, Susie Burpee, and Debbie Patterson. Her own choreographic work has been presented by Young Lungs Dance Exchange and at the Winnipeg Fringe Festival.
In 2013 Ali, along with local Winnipeg dancers Natasha Torres-Garner and Johanna Riley, produced Desire to Collide, an evening of new choreographic work. They also commissioned a new work, Falling Routine, by Karen Kuzak that was performed at the Rachel Browne Theatre as part of Winnipeg’s Contemporary Dancers 50th anniversary season. Ali has collaborated with local theatre artists and in 2014 performed in a workshop performance of No Exit with Company Link, directed by Tom Stroud.
Ali holds a BA Honours in Theatre majoring in dance from the University of Winnipeg, where she has also worked as a teaching assistant and instructor for the Department of Theatre and Film’s movement for actors’ courses. She has taught creative movement, modern dance, contact improvisation and pilates to the public through community classes and to the professional dance communities in Winnipeg, Vancouver, and Regina.
Aaron Michael Paul began his early dance training at the Royal Winnipeg Ballet. After six years in the Professional Division, Aaron continued his studies at the Professional Program of the School of Contemporary Dancers and graduated from the Program in May 2015. He performed with the Program at the Canada Dance Festival 2014 including in works by Sylvain Émard, Gaile Petursson-Hiley and Tedd Robinson. Aaron has had the opportunity to perform in numerous professional works including with Stephanie Ballard and Dancers, Odette Heyn-Projects, Company Constance Cooke, Drive Dance, and Mouvement Winnipeg Dance Projects/Gaile Petursson-Hiley. He is currently an apprentice with Winnipeg’s Contemporary Dancers.
Aaron was honoured to be a performer within the original cast of Paul-André Fortier’s ‘Thin Ice’ and had the opportunity to perform the work in New Dance Horizons ‘Men in Dance’ performance series.
Angle Of Repose (2012)
choreographer: Brent Lott
dancers: Jasmine Allard & Alexandra Winters
music: Esmerine, ‘And They Left No Footprints In The Dust Behind Them’
costumes: Norma Lachance
costume reinforcer: Zaley Warkentin
This duet 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.
Many thanks to the original cast, Kayla Henry & Mark Medrano and to the present cast who inspired me daily with their enthusiasm, hard work and artistry.
Brent Lott was appointed the Artistic Director of WCD in June of 2005. As a choreographer, Brent has been actively creating for over a decade. His 2008 work STRUCK, set on WCD dancers, was called ‘a work of mystery by beauty’ by the Globe and Mail dance reviewer Paula Citron.
His 2011 contribution to the Winnipeg Fringe Theatre Festival, Bash on Regardless, was given 5 stars by Alison Mayes and refered to as ‘ …an extraordinary heart-stopping fusion of movement and text.’
His other full length choreographic endeavours include Coming in to Autumn with actor Naomi Cooke, His Banner Over Me with clarinettist Lori Freedman and a co-production with Christina Medina entitled as long as now. Brent is a member of the faculty of the Professional Program of SCD and a past faculty member of the Professional Program of RWB. Brent is also a member of the Board of Directors of the Dancer Transition Resource Centre.
Jasmine Allard, was raised in Winnipeg and born in a french-manitoban family. At a young age, she was exposed to a vibrant folk culture which influenced her to follow a career in dance. In 2014 she completed the School of Contemporary Dancers Senior Professional Program and graduated from the University of Winnipeg in 2015 with a Bachelor in Arts. She has since worked on professional projects with local and international choreographers such as Tedd Robinson, Constance Cooke, Catherine Gaudet and Brent Lott. Jasmine participated in the Young Lungs Research series as a dancer and choreographer in the winter of 2015/2016. She is also very excited to announce that she will be working with Lise McMillan and continue working with the Winnipeg’s Contemporary Dancers in this upcoming year!
Alexandra Winters is a recent graduate of the Professional Program of the School of Contemporary Dancers in Winnipeg, Manitoba. She has had the honour of working professionally with Stephanie Ballard and Dancers, Constance Cooke Dance, Gearshifting Performance Works, Janelle Hacault through the Young Lungs Dance Exchange, and Winnipeg’s Contemporary Dancers’ emerging company Verge. Currently an apprentice with WCD, she is also involved in the creation of a new work with choreographer Constance Cooke, commissioned by Aria Evans (Toronto), and has an upcoming project with Christina Medina (Austria).
Logarian Rhapsody (World Premiere)
A Co-Presentation with Alexandra Elliott Dance
direction: Tedd Robinson
movement and text: Tedd Robinson, Alexandra Elliott and Ian Mozdzen
sound and music composition: Charles Quevillon
costumes: Tedd Robinson and Alexandra Elliott
performers: Alexandra Elliott, Ian Mozdzen
Thank you Centre Q, Peter Boneham, Normand Vandal, D-Anne Kuby, Winnipeg’s Contemporary Dancers, Nafro Dance Productions, the School of Contemporary Dancers.
A special thank you to Stephanie Ballard.
Alexandra acknowledges the generous support of the Canada Council for the Arts, the Manitoba Arts Council, and the Winnipeg Arts Council.
This commission would not have been possible without the unwavering support of Alex’s family, friends and community. May her gratitude reach you through this performance.
Tedd Robinson – Born in Ottawa, Canada, Tedd Robinson graduated with a Bachelor of Fine Arts from York University, and studied at The School of The Toronto Dance Theatre and with eminent British visual theatre artist Lindsay Kemp. Robinson first rose to prominence as Artistic Director of Contemporary Dancers in Winnipeg, Canada (1984-1990), where he created highly theatrical ensemble works. Upon returning to Ottawa in 1990, he joined Le Groupe Dance Lab as a resident guest artist, and pursued his solo career. He is now firmly established as a choreographer, educator and performing artist whose critically acclaimed, award-winning and utterly unique works have led to a multitude of performances across the country and internationally.
Rokudo: six destinies in three steps received the 1998 Chalmers National Dance Award. His work won le Prix en art de la scène l’Avant-Première at the Culturiades de l’Outaouais in 2009 and he was the recipient of the 2014 Walter Carsen Prize for Excellence in the performing Arts. His works have involved collaborations Margie Gillis (2003-04 and 2012), Louise Lecavalier (2003-06), Ame Henderson (2011-2015) and Charles Quevillon (2010-2016). Between 2005 and 2012, Tedd Robinson took up residence in the Pontiac, Québec and established La B.A.R.N., an intimate venue for creation and performance. Through 10 Gates Dancing he created a series of works for La B.A.R.N. that were presented during the summers at Lac Leslie. Since 2013, he is co-director of Centre Q: a centre for questioning as well as Artistic Director of 10 Gates Dancing Inc., a non-profit company formed in 1998. His work is influenced by his six years of study as a monk in the Northern Mountain Order, Hakukaze soto zen, Ottawa. Tedd is a founding member of Projet BK and a National Arts Centre Associate Dance Artist.
Since 2005, Charles Quevillon has developed a direct approach to musical expression through his electroacoustic and instrumental work. He studied composition in cegep St-Laurent and at the Conservatoire de Musique de Montréal. Now, he specializes in the composition of mixed music. His actual research concerns the composition/choreography of the musical performance. It’s through his close collaboration with Tedd Robinson that he has discovered a passion for movement. He performs many of his works himself. His recent piece Corde à Vide was composed for a suspended musician at the center of a chime of plucked-string instruments. He also composed and performed in Tedd Robinson’s “The 60 Dancer project” which closed the 2014 Canada Dance Festival. Charles received a Dora Award nomination for his music for Robinson’s “Sticks”, commissioned by Toronto’s Yvonne Ng. Most recently he has collaborated and performed in the work “Room with Sticks” with Tedd Robinson and Ame Henderson which was performed in three festivals across Canada; Ottawa, Vancouver and Montreal’s FTA. In 2016 he will perform a new duet with Tedd at the Canada Dance Festival titled “Trust”. Charles is Co-director at Centre Q: a centre for questioning, in Quyon, Quebec and resident composer for 10 Gates Dancing.
Alexandra Elliott – Born and raised in Winnipeg Alexandra Elliott is a dedicated contemporary dancer and choreographer. At the age of four her family knew this dance form was right for her and she was enrolled at The School of Contemporary Dancers. This is where she stayed until graduating in 2004 from the professional program and received a BA Honours Degree from the University of Winnipeg. Fresh out of school Alexandra was a company dancer for four years with Ruth Cansfield Dance before joining the Young Lungs Dance Exchange to pursue choreography. After seven years of constant support from this organization she has taken an important step and is now the Artistic Director of Alexandra Elliott Dance. She has had the incredible opportunity to self present her own production and will continue to do so with the supportive community she lives in. With over ten original works under her belt, her dances have been produced in Winnipeg, New York, Toronto, and Edmonton. Alexandra remains humble with a commitment to learn from her seniors and peers. She has studied choreography with Susie Burpee (ON), Marie-Josée Chartier (QC), Susan Rethorst (NY) and Peter Bingham (BC) and has sought out rewarding mentorships with Burpee and Brent Lott (MB). She cycles to her studio every week, year round, to make work that is physically demanding and emotionally charged, and not one day is taken for granted. Alexandra looks forward to a one-month residency in Iceland this July.
Ian Mozdzen grew up on a farm in rural Manitoba. Ian has been studying literature, theatre, performance and dance since childhood and has been focused on writing, directing, art modelling and performing for the public over the past 13 years. Ian has worked in a solo capacity and in ensemble contexts — and has shown work locally, regionally and internationally. Ian currently trains at the School of Contemporary Dancers, The India School of Dance, Theatre and Music and the Jhankaar School of Dance and Music. In 2016, Ian plans to move to Kerala, India in order to study the dance/theatre art form of Kathakali. Ian has worked with Alexandra Elliott on many occasions over the years — she has had an immense influence on Ian’s presence as a dancer on the stage and in the community. Many many thanks to Alex for her faith, creativity and fire. And many thanks to Tedd for his fancy.
DUETS Production Crew
Lighting Designer: Dean Cowieson
Stage Manager: Paige Lewis
Production Manager / Technical Director: James Jansen
Crew: Khaeler Bautista, Jane Buttner, Adam Drory, Miguel Fortier, Tim Harding, James Thurmeier
Dean has been the resident lighting designer at Winnipeg’s Contemporary Dancers since 2007. Dean is also resident lighting designer for Le Cercle Moliere in Winnipeg, and has designed lighting for TRIP Dance as well as for Gilbert and Sullivan, WJT, MTYP and several other companies in Winnipeg and across Canada.
Paige is thrilled to be working with Winnipeg’s Contemporary Dancers on this presentation of DUETS. Most recently she has worked with Q Dance, The Winnipeg Comedy Festival, Gearshifting Performance Works, The Royal Manitoba Theatre Centre, Kathleen Hiley Solo Projects, Collective Corps, and Mouvement/Winnipeg Dance Projects. Paige is a graduate of The School of Contemporary Dancers.
James Jansen (jaymez)
jaymez is a freelance video artist, designer and technical director who holds a BFA in Video from the University of Manitoba. He has worked with Winnipeg’s Contemporary Dancers for 6 seasons and began as Production Manager / Technical Director in 2013. He has worked with a variety of companies, artists and festivals including Alex Poruchnyk, Adhere + Deny / Grant Guy, Out Of Line Theatre, Incompletely Strangled Freya Olafson, Ming Hon, Nova Dance Collective, .6 Ricochet, WNDX Festival of Moving Images, Cluster New Music and Integrated Arts Festival, núna (now), Memetic and The School of Contemporary Dance. He has created video and lighting designs for a wide variety of productions and his personal art practice focuses on live video performance and projection mapping.
artistic director: Brent Lott
general manager: Cheryl Ashton
communications and marketing: Vanessa Macrae
WCD would like to thank the School of Contemporary Dancers and Paula Blair and NAfro Dance Productions.