For Vancouver-based choreographer Thoenn Glover, the world of cinema is a rich source of inspiration. Visual perspectives, musical scores, lighting choices, and scene changes, the way all these intertwined elements come together to create a whole picture excites the Arts Umbrella graduate (‘09).
“I strive to use these tools within a contemporary dance setting to create a world that can be entered by many entry points by many different types of viewers,” explained Glover.
And it is these different types of viewers who are the focus of Glover’s work. Glover says her choreography has in mind audience members who are perhaps unfamiliar, less experienced with contemporary dance.
“I hear all the time that people ‘just don’t get’ contemporary dance,” said Glover. “Or they say, ‘I guess I’m just not smart enough.’ If this is the response, I don’t think we have done our jobs [as dance artists]. No one should need an education to get something or be moved by art.
“I think we often get caught up as dance artists,” Glover continued, “in making work that is gratifying for ourselves – not to diminish the importance of fulfillment within our work – and forget that we are creating performance art that should appeal to and entertain an audience.
“The result is often work that may sometimes stray too far into the abstract and inner experience, alienating those who don’t have an understanding of this inner experience within contemporary dance. I feel it is my role as a choreographer to bridge these goals and find a middle ground that is artistically expanding on a personal level, but that also invites the audience into the work.”
Next week, Glover’s choreographic work will be featured during week one of the 34th Annual Alberta Dance Festival: The Fate of Dance. This year’s festival theme is chance, something Glover has learned plenty from along her artistic journey.
“My process is all about taking chances in different ways,” said Glover. “My best ideas often come from saying yes to a collaboration I haven’t done before, or working with a new parameter. Planning has never been my forte when it comes to the creative process – although in the rest of my life it is!
“As I’ve grown as a choreographer, I’ve learned that this is my process and I need to embrace it, not fight it. I’ve spent a lot of time trying to plan, trying to force more structure on my creation time. I’ve started to learn what creative containers I need to provide for myself to be functional, and to let the rest go to my instinctual approach.”
Glover calls this year’s integration of chance limitations a “very cerebral approach” to creating new work.
“I am a very visual creator and usually respond to things in the moment and based on what I see happening in front of me. To be given a list of parameters in word format without any visual was challenging,” explained Glover.
“I found, however, that it planted a seed and steered the direction of the creation, even though I wasn’t thinking about it the entire time, which was interesting for me to witness.”
About the work she will be presenting at the 34th AADF, Glover says audiences can expect “to be shaken by the music, and the visual atmosphere to shift regularly.”
Originally from Smithers, B.C, Thoenn Glover has performed across Canada at various festvials, including Calgary’s 2013 Ignite! Festival where she presented Tessellate. In September 2012, the Georgia Straight profiled Thoenn, alongside her sister Yeva, as part of their annual fall arts preview where they feature outstanding artists from different disciplines.