M:ST News – October 2014

Flanerie

Prepping for Flanerie by coralshort ! (I’m the invisible one in the middle of the group shot!) More soon. <3

 

 

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7:03

Saturday morning I got up for 10:00 AM to go see Sophia Bartholomew’s first performance for Mountain Standard Time. She’d been up 3 hours before me (7:00 AM!) to go jogging before heading to a dance studio at CASA for ULTIMATE WORKOUT.

I admit, I’m the sort of artist who likes to fall back on the good old “bad at sports” stereotype to avoid physical activity (with a few exceptions). Sophia, alternately, is one of the most strong and fit artists I have ever met. Her performance ULTIMATE WORKOUT is an incredible feat of physical endurance, determination, philosophical pursuit, as well as an entrancing and upbeat meditation on the body.

Sophia entered the dance studio, crossing to the other end of the room where she dropped her duffel bag and removed stacks of books, small weights, and a water bottle from within. She hooked an iPod up to the studio’s sound system and promptly centred herself opposite the room’s entrance. After moving seamlessly through a warm-up routine, the music began to pick up and Sophia selected one of her books as she removed a first layer of warm-up gear. 

As she returned to her position, and a more vigorous aerobics routine, she began to read out loud, at a volume to compete with the music. Nearly shouting, Sophia began to recite readings on the philosophy of the body alongside dance-club hits. The tracks she selected focused on bodies, physicality, and sexuality. As she seamlessly performed her aerobics routine, gradually shedding layers of clothing, the words she read came through at breaks in the music. I had Ke$ha’s Die Young track in my head for hours.

I hear your heeeaaart beat to the beat of the drum! OH what a shame that you came here with someone… while you’re here in my arms… gonna die young!

“to a statement on non-centralism” 

“she offers… the power” 

“if I can’t dance, I don’t want to be a part of your revolution”

“we are not sure of the number or gender of speakers… asexual…”

Reactions as viewers stopped to watch Sophia’s performance varied, from enthused children dancing to the tunes, to numerous viewers in awe of her focus. After the first hour of her three hour long performance, I was reluctant to leave. It is moving to experience another person’s strength and determination for such a long period of time. Watching Sophia elicited simultaneous feelings of empathy, awe, support, and solidarity. Staying to watch became my way of trying to support her through an incredible and inspiring endeavour. 

Sophia will be performing ULTIMATE WORKOUT again at the West Village Theatre on Tuesday, September 7. And I highly recommend checking it out. 

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Yellow Bird

Recorded live at Theatre Outre
Lethbridge, Alberta, Canada
September 26, 2014
as part of the M:ST 7 performance festival.
The evening also featured great performances by Francis O’Shaughnessy (Performative Haiku: Silk Landscape) and Alberto Kurapel (Nomad’s Land).

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7:02

Beginnings, I think, are challenging. Arrivals less so. Transportation when you don’t drive: definitely challenging. 

I arrived in Lethbridge Friday night, regrettably missing Francis O’Shaughnessy’s Performative Haiku: Silk Landscape. Though I didn’t miss the remaining ephemeral traces of it. Theatre Outré,an alternative theatre space in Lethbridge, was littered with glittering remnants of O’Shaughnessy’s performance. I’m hoping to snag someone who did see this piece to share their thoughts on the blog in the future – as a verbalized summation by Jenna Swift and a few quick glances at cellphone pics have me certain that this was the sort of performance not to be missed. 

Slipping quietly into the Theatre Outré’s space, I found myself in the midst of a crowd enraptured by Nomad’s Land, a performance across a variety of media by Alberto Kurapel. One of the many incredible indigenous artists that I’m stoked to see in M:ST 7’s line-up. For me, even what I caught of this piece was moving. Kurapel’s emotional performance seemed to exist at the intersection of culture, history, and present day experiences – the reality of contemporary indigenous life. Through the use of his voice and props, Kurapel communicated across language barriers. I found myself mesmerized watching him, even as members of the crowd backed away to avoid being splashed as the performance neared its conclusion. Having arrived too late to see the performance in it’s entirety, I’m eagerly looking forward to it’s second iteration on October 7 at theWest Village Theatre in Calgary. (P.S. I’m mentioning this because you should obviously be there too.)

Friday night concluded with the futuristic sounding performance, Sleeper by Instant Places (Laura Kavanaugh and Ian Birse). Described as travelling “to a nearly distant future in which all communication takes place through synaesthetic connections between images and sound,” the piece shifted between a lighter, at times even playful sound and raspy wordless but voice-like moments reminiscent of a radio signal that can’t quite connect. Created in the moment through the parameters and constraints of their purpose-built hardware/software, this performance promises to morph with each iteration (the next being at TRUCK gallery, October 7!).

One of the best things about a festival is the socializing and community that naturally comes with it, and I concluded Friday night over a snack and drink with many of the artists that were in Lethbridge, as well as several new and familiar friends. 

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