Dancing a dramatic impulse

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Choreographer Richard Lee was inspired by song lines for his piece in Dancers’ Studio West Annual Alberta Dance Festival. The festival, The Dramatic Impulse, running September 5th to September 14th will feature 11 choreographers and over 20 dancers in two distinct programs. Lee’s piece, entitled The Shallows, a choreographed piece on himself, will be featured in the second week.

“It’s loosely inspired by song lines, which are songs passed along in Australian aboriginal culture that are used to navigate across the Outback,” Lee explains, “I was really inspired by the idea of songs as memory and song describing a pathway of land and also in a person’s body.”

Lee first performed The Shallows as part of NextFest in Edmonton and is now working to perform a more refined version in the festival. “Now there is a greater focus on the movement, before there was a bit more work on the music, [as] I was working with an accompanist,” Lee says.

“It’s exhausting!” Lee says when asked about the challenges of the pieces. The Shallows is full of athletic movement and Lee is rehearsing in three hour blocks by himself with just a video camera. He has to perform his piece full out each time. “All you have is just yourself.”

“I’m looking forward to Mark Ikeda’s piece,” Lee says when prompted about what he’s excited about in the festival, Ikeda’s source material is “a very popular play and I’m a fan of it, so I’m interested to see how it will translate into dance.”

Richard Lee’s The Shallows runs as part of DSW’s Alberta Dance Festival from September 12th – 14th. Tickets and more information about the festival is available online.

Photo Credit: Tim Nguyen

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