34th Annual Alberta Dance Festival: The Fate of Dance. "Sojourn." Choreographer: Deanna Witwer. Dancers: Laura Barcelo, Abby Burton, Caitlin Unrau, Deanna Witwer. Photo Credit: Tim Nguyen.

We took a number of chances during the Fate of Dance festival this year, from the content of the application and the acceptance to participating artists, to the actual production.
Of course, chance plays a part in everything that happens.

It is when we actually invite chance into the creative process that we enter into a new dynamic. On consideration of the hand chance has dealt, we see immediately that we are being asked to respond in a new way. If we begin to imagine this new way, we sense a disorienting freedom as chance directs us away from the narrow confines of our preferences. If we actually get in deeply enough to test the potential of the chance challenge we are usually confronted by our own limitations. But it is when we say yes to it, when we persist, that we discover something new. Then, we are in a new land, a land of discovery. And where else should the artist be but in the land of discovery?

In the end, the process culminates in public performances, and a dance must be made. I don’t know how fully the Fate of Dance choreographers actually entered into the chance challenge, into the land of discovery. But I do know that we all have learned about the possibilities that only chance can offer.

I certainly discovered something new.

During the Fate of Dance, I discovered that the nightly chance alternative music selections recommended to us by graduate students in composition at the University of Calgary provided a truly thrilling experiment. I would be surprised if there were a single person in the theatre unmoved by the way these experiments brought the subject dances alive. Certainly, the performers left the stage knowing something they did not know five minutes before when they started the experiment. The world opened up to all of us in a new way.

Another chance we all took together was to replace the traditional Talkback with a Danceback. At the end of the Friday evenings all performers on the program took to the stage, and while the technical team and I had predetermined some elements, the audience drew others from the Chance Dance deck. A 4.5-minute dance ensued, without rehearsal, without prior knowledge of the music. Of course, these Dancebacks were not the gems they could have been had all the necessary craft and artistry been invested. What they did, however, was something different. They gave voice to a new dance creature. Courageously performed, and invested in by everyone in the theatre, the Danceback spoke convincingly and intelligibly. And for 4.5-minutes, we were all right there in the land of discovery.

I hope everyone enjoyed the fun.
Davida Monk
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Join us this Sunday for our season’s first Undressing the Dance Dialogue.

Davida Monk will lead an open discussion about the 34th Annual Alberta Dance Festival, giving audience members and the general public a chance to share their thoughts about the festival, and ask questions about the creative process. Dancers and choreographers from the festival will be present.

Where: Gravity Espresso & Wine Bar
When: Sunday, September 27th
Time: 11:00am – 1:00pm

Free event. Food will be provided for our guests.

Seating is limited!
RSVP: communications@dswlive.ca