Getting Lost and Found in “For Body and Light”

Coming & Going, a collaboration between three contemporary dance graduates from Concordia and spoken-word artist and musician Ian Ferrier, presents For Body and Light. The interdisciplinary project combining contemporary dance and spoken word was featured at this year’s Wildside Theatre Festival in Montreal.

For Body and Light was created when the members of Coming and Going were invited to participate in a creative residency located in Parrsboro, Nova Scotia. It was at the Bay of Fundy that the company witnessed the rising and the falling of the world’s highest tides, which inspired the theme of their show.

“We were actually working in the water, on the beach, on the pier, out in the wind, so a lot of the movement was created in that site-specific environment. We really channel that in the performance, I think,” said dancer Linnea Gwiazda.

The show featured nature’s elements manipulated by the performers, including rain boots filled with water, wind coming from the sides of the stage and a maneuverable light. The spontaneity and uncertainty of a live show with the addition of nature’s elements helped represent the feeling of being out of control, both literally and figuratively.

“Feeling like you have no control over your environment is something that comes into this show with the movement of the light, the unpredictability of the water, with the sensation of the wind blowing; it’s all tied into being affected by the environment around you,” said Gwiadza.

Both dancers agreed that their hunger for site-specific work, overlapping dance with other art forms and the collaboration with other artists comes from the training received at Concordia’s contemporary dance program.

“We were very much encouraged to see what can happen when you do unexpected things and include different types of art and media into your work […] it just seemed natural to continue exploring in that way,” said Gwiazda.

Since the show is multidisciplinary it has been included in theatre festivals, spoken-word festivals, and dance festivals. This cross-border access has allowed the company to open their minds to a new form of artistic communication using different mediums, including poetry, dance, spoken word and music.

“There isn’t really one medium in the show that dominates more than the others […] This is a show that everyone can get something out of,” said choreographer and dancer Stephanie Morin-Robert.

The show doesn’t focus on the plotline; it’s more about the soulful and reflective experience. The minimalist aspects of the show, both in the technical components and the small amount of performers involved, creates a breathy environment in which the audience becomes fully immersed.

The company sets an emphasis on the need for creativity to be a collaborative, experimental process, in which all members contribute and inspire one another in different ways.

“There isn’t a perfect recipe, we kind of go back and forth… it’s very loose and free,” said Morin-Robert.

There is always room for the performers to try out new pieces and to work with pieces that continue to evolve. In this way, the show continues to be shaped and re-shape based on inspiration.

For Body and Light has been shown across Canada and has featured a different local artist opening the show for them each night; not something typical of traditional dance shows. This strategy has allowed them to make connections with artists across the country and has given some variety to their performance routine.

“For us backstage, hearing something different every night gives us a lot of energy and is inspiring,” said Gwiazda.

“Every show feels different for us in that sense because you kind of remember the beginning of it in a different way every time, so it keeps us on our feet,” added Morin-Robert.

The idea that the show is always a little bit different goes along with the company’s overall mandate of continual change and creative freedom.

Keep a look out for For Body and Light featured in the Fringe festivals this coming July as well as a second show touring Canada this summer!

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