Swinging, swaying and sweating

By Claire Cummings

From the look of the rehearsals, this year’s Dance Montage promises to be full of energy and innovation. On Sunday afternoon, dancers threw themselves into the movements of "asdsdss" to the enthusiastic encouragements of their choreographers. This jazzed-up piece is one of many planned for this year’s performance.

Organized by the Faculty of Kinesiology, Dance Montage brings professional and amateur dancers and choreographers from across the city together in collaboration. Choreographers Jamie Freeman-Kormack, Kyrsten Blair, partners in Dance Montage, and Christine Carr, who produces, directs and acts in "Fracas," say this sense of openness and experimentation makes participation worthwhile.

"There are only a few places in Calgary where you can just put a [dance] piece in as opposed to being invited," said Freeman-Kormack, a freelance dancer and choreographer and long-time participant in Dance Montage. Freeman-Kormack said she is able to include pieces she wouldn’t put in a more professional performance because the audience is open to works-in-progress and experiments.

A tight rehearsal schedule also results in unexpected rewards on the stage.

"We only have eight weeks to put it together, rehearsing once a week," said kinesiology sessional instructor and freelancer Blair. The short lead-time forces choreographers to work quickly and to deal with the unexpected.

"That’s the fun of it, having to throw something out really fast," said Carr. "You don’t have time to ponder."

Blair said the open rehearsals mean a greater variation in the dancers’ backgrounds, and more variety in audience.

"People come who haven’t been to dance shows before," said Blair.

Blair and Freeman-Kormack are using their experience in different areas to create a fusion of styles. They intend to combine their respective studies in hip hop and swing to bring something new to this year’s Montage.

Carr, a recent graduate of kinesiology’s dance program, has a personal style just as distinct. Her piece will be "physical and hardcore." Carr seeks a combination of sport and dance that incorporates a lot of body contact between dancers. Carr said she like this style because it leaves room for innovation and dancer input, and because dancers’ interactions with each other are an integral part of the outcome of each dance.

These choreographer’s pieces, along with many others, will be showcased during the third weekend of this month. The final result of these collaborations is yet to be seen and enjoyed, as it seems the only constants throughout the 30-year history of the event have been change, diversity and pleasant surprises.

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