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Two New Dance Works Illuminate Hopeful Ways Forward

Dance Victoria and Noble Riot Dance Theatre are co-presenting KIN, a double bill of contemporary dance for three performances on May 26 and 27, 2023, at Dance Victoria Studios. KIN features the premiere of two works, Luminaries choreographed by Kayla Henry of Noble Riot Dance Theatre and Christina Medina, and Kairos by Constance Cooke.

Both works on the program feature original scores and lighting design by Hugh Conacher, one of Canada’s most prolific lighting designers for dance.

<who>Photo Credit: Noble Riot Dance Theatre in Luminaries by Joshua Lawrence

Human Connection and Mycelium

In Luminaries, audiences can expect to experience relentless physicality with acrobatics accompanied by live music. Henry and Medina’s Luminaries draws inspiration from mycelium, a network of underground fungal threads which act as a communication system for mushrooms. Prompted by bioluminescent fungi and insects, bursts of light reveal glimmers of human connection.

Henry was the 2022 recipient of the Chrystal Dance Prize – Projects (CDP) and is a resident dance artist at Dance Victoria Studios. The CDP is generated from a bequest made by Dance Victoria patron, Dr. Betty “Chrystal” Kleiman, to the Victoria Foundation and supports exceptional dance research and/or creation between a Western Canadian dance artist, collective or company and an international dance artist (interpreter or choreographer). Henry used funds from the CDP to support travel and creation at The Music and Arts University of the City of Vienna, collaborating with Austrian choreographer Christina Medina.

Musician/composer/collaborator Finley Rose, and sound engineer/collaborator Rick Laird, worked to compose, arrange, and record the original score. Designer Heather Ireland created the costumes that echo nature’s mushrooms through colour, texture, and shape.

<who>Photo Credit: Noble Riot Dance Theatre in <em>Luminaries</em> by Joshua Lawrence

“My hope with Luminaries is that people feel a sense of wonder, while connecting to the larger idea that the answers are right beneath us,” says Henry.

A Concern for Humanity and Plant Earth

Kairos by Constance Cooke is an ensemble work for five dancers (Sarah Hutton, Kayla Henry, Veronique Emmett, Allison Brooks, Elya Grant) that delves into evolutionary clusters. Throughout this collaborative work we witness negotiation, cooperation, re-organization, and invention. The piece explores the motifs of vigilance, ritual, and connectedness to channel energy, transform conflict, and find meaning through symbol and action. Cooke is a resident dance artist at Dance Victoria Studios. She began choreographing Kairos in 2018. Cooke’s creative team also includes composer Angus Stelle-Gaffney who has created an original score/soundscape for the work and costume designer Odessa Bennet. This much anticipated premiere marks Cooke's return to the Victoria stage since 2015.

“At this moment, natural and political crises threaten our humanity, our Earthly home, and our very survival,” explains Cooke. “In this Kairos moment, we are challenged to find hope and agency to act for our world in a new way. Kairos answers the call for work that is firmly grounded in deep concern for the future of humanity and planet Earth. In Kairos, we tackle and wrestle old systems while offering new archetypes for the practice of hope.”

<who>Photo Credit: Kairos by Constance Cooke

About the Choreographers

Kayla Henry is a mother, performer, creator, and movement educator based on the unceded Coast Salish Territory of the Lekwungen and W̱SÁNEĆ nations in Victoria. The founder and Artistic Director of Noble Riot Dance Theatre (2021), Kayla has been choreographing since she was eight years old and professionally since 2013. Her works have been presented by Dance Victoria, Impulse Theatre, Constance Cooke Dance, Good Women Dance Collective (Edmonton), and Springboard Performance (Calgary). Her creative processes have been supported through grants, awards, residencies, and mentorships.

Christina Medina is a Filipino-Canadian contemporary dance artist originally from Winnipeg, Manitoba. Medina is on faculty at The Music and Arts University of the City of Vienna (MUK). Prior to moving to Vienna, she was the Director of @tendance/C.Medinadance (Graz, Austria). Her choreographic works have been shown in Canada, Europe, and Brazil. Medina’s pedagogical experiences includes master classes and workshops in Canada and Europe.

Constance Cooke is an established Queer Canadian Dance Artist working as a choreographer for stage, dance on film and site-specific work; as an educator of contemporary dance and screendance; and as a mentor and curator. Her work has attracted and cultivated curious, open, and intelligent audiences for contemporary and experimental work for over 35 years. Cooke’s work has been presented in Canada, North America, and Europe. She has created over 60 professional works and self-produced 10 full-length works. Cooke lives, creates, and works on the unceded Coast Salish Territory of the Lekwungen and W̱SÁNEĆ Nations, in Victoria, B.C.

The Artistic Team

Luminaries:

Co-Choreographers: Christina Medina & Kayla Henry

Dancers: Kayla Henry & Alia Saurini

Musician/Performer/Collaborator: Finley Rose

Lighting Design: Hugh Conacher

Costume Design: Heather Ireland

Rehearsal Director: Lynda Raino

Sound Engineer/Collaborator: Rick Laird

Kairos:

Choreography: Constance Cooke with

Dancers: Allison Brooks, Elya Grant, Kayla Henry, Sarah Hutton, Veronique Emmett

Composer: Angus Stelle-Gaffney

Dramaturge: Pamela Millar

Lighting Design: Hugh Conacher

Costume Design: Odessa Bennett

All tickets to KIN performances are sold out. Dance Victoria and Noble Riot Dance Theatre would like to thank the community for their support and are excited to share KIN in the coming weeks.

KIN
Co-presented by Dance Victoria and Noble Riot Dance Theatre
May 26 & 27, 7:00 pm
May 27, 1:00 pm
Dance Victoria, 2750 Quadra St., Victoria

The creation for Luminaries was supported by CRD Arts & Culture, Studio H Canada, The Music and Arts University of the City of Vienna, and Dance Victoria’s Chrystal Dance Prize and Artist Residencies. The creation of Kairos was supported by the BC Arts Council, Dance Victoria’s Residency Program, The School of Contemporary Dancers – Intern Program and private supporters.



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