Last weekend I was graciously hosted by Jake Hastey, of Toy Guns Dance Theatre, during the first day of their two day audition. Let me just say this audition process felt demanding and not just physically. The attention to the emotional need from and of the dancer as well as the mix of ballet and more contemporary style really made the experience feel multi-dimensional - and I wasn't even dancing!
In my mind I've always imagined dancing auditions to be tense ordeals with snideness at every corner. None of that was to be had. The genuine feeling of joy and passion permeated the air. These dancers seemed to genuinely care about not just each other but really channeling themselves into the manifestation of their hard work. The entire experience was made more special for me as I got to witness Tia in her element. The first time I'd seen her dance was at a school talent show, she improvised her whole performance and went on to earn a top spot.
On a more personal note dance has always been problematic for me. Living in North American culture which is tricky to discern in terms of the fine line between acceptability and taboo. I had a frank discussion about dancing with my mother. We talked about traditional dance back home (Kenya), and how most people are really just focused on moving for and to the music. The aim is to feel the beat and move with it or to it. There is really little pretension to it or what really troubles me here - slutiness. I think that when people dance outside of the studio they view certain hip swaying, waist writhing moves as solely reserved for seductive purposes. Leading to conclusions on Rihanna's lewdness and Beyonce's risqueness (are those even words?). My mother attended my grade nine graduation and what really made an impression on her is the fact that we were all jumping up and down. I new mating ritual? I think not. More our inability to move our bodies without shame or wrong intention. Which is why it was all the more refreshing to see the dancers move without apprehension or that special type of hesitation that comes when you feel shame knowing you shouldn't.
What is a body for if you cannot move it?
Toy Guns Theatre has quite a few exceptional events planned out for the 2014 dance season from what I gleaned. I look forward to witnessing future projects with the dancers in roles - especially since pillows were mentioned. Fluffiness is always a good idea.