Montreal choreographer Lina Cruz founded her company, Fila 13 Productions, in 2003. Lina explores detailed body language, sound and vocal expression, composing characters and sketches which portray an unsettling strangeness, but always with a mischievous playfulness.
We talk to Lina just ahead of the Toronto premiere of Morphs, running March 31 – April 1 at the Fleck Dane Theatre.
Can you talk about where you were from and your path to Montreal?
I was born in Cartagena, Colombia. At age sixteen, in 1973, I left Colombia to study dance in Spain and was lucky enough to be hired as an apprentice in Real Ballet de Camara de Madrid. I also toured in Belgium, Holland, and France. I kept hearing how dynamic and creative the dance scene was in Montreal, and in 1989, decided to move to Montreal, where I found the effervescence I heard about!
What about your interest in dance – can you share some details about the start of your work in performance and choreography?
In 1973, I saw a performance of a work by choreographer Luis Ruffo. It was a revelation for me and I immediately understood that through dance I could develop practically all human faculties: imagination, intellect, emotions, memory, intuition, logic, physicality, and more. I have been dedicated to dance since that day. I loved being a dancer and discovering the different styles of choreographers, trying to give my best and constantly learning. At a time when ballet and modern dance did not mix, I had one foot firmly on each side. The ballet dancers and modern dancers found me suspicious, not trustworthy. Later on, I added martial arts to the mix, and that made things even worse! However, directly or indirectly, my teachers and the people I worked with taught me not only their respective purist styles, but also a sense of freedom when it came to creativity. All this forged my outlook on dance as an art form. At one point, around 1987, I began exploring choreography, it came as a personal intimate need. For the first fifteen years of choreographing, I performed my own solos and it allowed me to search with continuity. Later, I felt ready to create works with dancers.
Let’s talk about Morphs, what was the inspiration for the work?
I have always been fascinated by dreams. When I was thirteen, I dreamt of this little creature in my head, it was tapping around with a hammer, moving along the concave inner surface of my head, like a sculptor working and modeling the inside surface of a dome. That dream had an impact on me, I loved it and kept wondering who that little creature was. It is part of my inspiration in creating Morphs, I imagined being able to spy on these busy labourers, looking through a keyhole, catching a glimpse of their daily lives.
Can you talk about your creative process for Morphs?
I’m all for free association of images but I’m also compelled to seek some sort of coherence in my work. However, in Morphs, in trying to personify the dreamweavers, I felt there was poetic license in allowing myself to go further than usual in creating and establishing simultaneous actions on stage. There are also several poems and songs in Morphs, in this sense too, I’ve gone further than usual. I thought these funny creatures would enjoy dwelling within poems and songs.
In other aspects, it has been a familiar creative process. I’m not particularly good at drawing, but it comes in handy when organizing images that I want to explore. Before going into the studio with the dancers, I start with drawings, sketches, imagining compositions in space, shapes, moves, gestures, sounds, costumes, props and trying to give each dancer an individual character. Then the ball starts rolling in the studio and all of us with it!
This is the first live performance for DanceWorks since March 2020. We are thrilled to welcome you and your cast to Toronto! How are you feeling about sharing a live work for Toronto audiences?
The pandemic has obviously been a challenge for everybody, constantly adapting and reorganizing our perspectives, not to mention the fear or reality of losing a loved one. Given the circumstances, we cannot complain, we’ve pulled through. I think I can speak for all of my team, we are highly motivated and extremely grateful to now be able to share, live on stage, a little Morphs fantasy with Toronto.
When: March 31 & April 1, 2022 at 8pm
Where: Fleck Dance Theatre, 207 Queens Quay W, Toronto, Ontario
Purchase tickets here OR call 416-973-4000
Proof of vaccination + masks required at the performance
WATCH A SNEAK PEEK HERE!
Photo by Alexandre Frenette