This Valentine’s Edition of Small Stage is the classic Romeo & Juliet story with a genre-blending, gender-bending, time-transcending twist. We asked each of the dancers to tell us about their typical day of opening night and about their work.
To start, can you tell us about your piece in just three words? Then feel free to add a few more.
Joshua Beamish: Solo, romance, gender. I’m an adult man dancing a piece meant to evoke the romantic feelings of a teenage girl falling in love, which is extremely odd and potentially very informative. Juliet’s love for Romeo is an all-encompassing first love, plus she’s a virgin. She’s discovering her sexuality and her ability to love all at once, which seems to be overwhelming and all-consuming in a way that I can’t directly relate to as a 29 year old gay man in 2017.
Heather Dotto: Quirky, quick, handography. My piece is based on the masquerade ball in R&J, the changing of partners and masks.
The Darlings Cabaret: High-energy, sexy, fun. Our piece is all about getting ready for a night out on the town: silliness, pre-drinks, dance party warmups and primping.
Benjamin Ritter: Are we smiling? Party dance with oomph.
Joey Matt: Watch and see! Think of it as a royal tango-ish hybrid with some contemporary syllabus sprinkled on it.
Brittney Anderson: Magical, fun, intricate. The piece that Heather created on us paints the scene of the Masquerade ball.
Sarah Formosa: Crazy, fast, big. We’re exploring social dancing with contemporary movement.
Brittney Landin: Innovative, unique, fun. A classic story come to life in a new and exciting way.
Ashley Sweett: Kindred, ambitious, loyal. Labyrinthine choreography screaming sophistication and oozing with romance. The work is a modern day adaptation with tangled up genders and genres, inspired by the story of R&J.
What inspires you?
JB: Music, my dancers, people, films, books, my own life experiences, and my relationships (above all).
HD: The possibility that maybe I could create something completely original.
TDC: The vintage pin-up era, Rock & Roll, Fosse, Burlesque, Dance performances of all styles! Great music old and new.
J: Being amongst and working with dancers like the ones I was able to work with for this project.
B: Everyone I got to work with in this piece.
SF: I’m constantly inspired by young-passionate artists that take on anything without fear.
BL: People who are doing what they love to do.
AS: Bravery, pain, love, gratitude, trust, youth, hippie stuff…everything?
What is your favourite pre-performance ritual?
JB: Piles and tendus.
HD: Twerking out to ri ri.
TDC: For some shows…a traditional pre-show shot of whiskey!
BR: Debating life’s questions.
J: Taking a shot.
SF: I always balance for 1 minute with my eyes closed, 10 minutes before the top of a show.
AS: Green tea and positive affirmations.
What about pre-show jitters? Do you still get them?
JB: Yes, but they differ from venue to venue and project to project.
HD: Yes. Forever. I love the feeling.
TDC: Always. Jitters and excitement! We love performing.
J: Yes, almost every time.
SF: I feel like the jitters never really go away and they’re one of the best parts about performing live.
BL: Yes, I do. Performing is always exciting.
What foods do you eat to fuel you throughout the day?
JB: An egg white omelette with more ingredients than any average person would normally consider appropriate.
HD: Avocado on toast.
TDC: Can’t go wrong with an nutrition packed smoothie!
BR: Breakfast is for the weak.
J: Probiotic yogurt to keep me regular.
B: Chocolate milk.
SF: Avocado toast!
BL: Two eggs with a lot of hot sauce.
AS: Avocado on toast with hot sauce alongside a coffee with nut milk.
How do you celebrate after the curtains close?
JB: A pint with friends.
HD: Laughter, wine and gratitude.
TDC: A post-show dance party, if we’re at a venue with a live band or DJ.
B: A drink with friends.
BL: Normally by hanging out with my friends and family.
AS: Wine, sweaty hair, leftover makeup, and more dancing.
Small Stage premiered in 2002 at the Royal Pub on Granville Street in Vancouver. The series showcases new and established dance professionals from Vancouver and across Canada on a ridiculously small stage, in an unconventional venues. Small Stage 35: The Valentines Edition takes place at Anza Club from February 9-12. Follow @smallstage!