In Dual Light, Dreamwalker Dance Company’s Artistic Director, Andrea Nann, invites us into the space between things familiar and situations unknown, within shifting environments of light, sound, story and memory. Here, we speak with Andrea about Dual Light.
Can you talk about the title of the new work? How did you decide on Dual Light?
Dual Light was the working title for a two week research project that I initiated in 2013, as a Resident Artist at the Young Centre for the Performing Arts. Resident Artists were encouraged to explore cross-disciplinary collaboration and access the Young Centre Discovery Lab to support research and develop nascent ideas.
Dual Light began as an experiment in minimalism, to bring a number of diverse artists into a common creative space but to only activate two subjects or aspects (two people or two art forms) at any given time. I was fortunate to receive rehearsal space, technical support, and project management and collaborators’ fees to kick start this project. I invited dance artists Brendan Wyatt (one of my longtime creative partners) and Yuichiro Inoue, sound designer Joshua Van Tassel, lighting designer Simon Rossiter, poet Souvankham Thammavongsa and filmmaker Peter Mettler, to join me in the lab.
We began by exploring simple pairings of two dancers, or dancers and colour, or colour and sound, or spoken word and projection. We worked with ‘light’ as an object, quality, vibration, ideal, and we embarked on an open experiment.
Between the dance artists, two distinct types of relationship emerged: when the subject was them (two people), Brendan and Yuichiro were free to make choices and to move independently. However, when the subject was two art forms, Brendan and Yuichiro were asked to unify and to make their choices communally. Little did I know, how deeply they would get into this task. Although their physical features are greatly contrasted, their ability to move together, share in spontaneous choice making, be inside of the experience of the other, and become one, was so compelling and potent that this became the basis of our work. I witnessed truth, reflected and shared between two very different individuals, and felt a profound sense of humanity as they danced together.
In 2014, with further Young Centre Discovery Lab support, Brendan, Yuichiro, Simon, Josh and I picked up the work again and later that year dance artist, Kristy Kennedy, joined us. Now our dance subjects were two men and two women, two Asians, two Caucasians, and things got very interesting! We started working with opposites – outer and inner, above and below, east and west, near and far. As two became four, we also started to see compass points, maps, mandalas, astronomy, and these references found their way in to the piece. In 2017 Cheryl Lalonde joined the team to work alongside Simon Rossiter to design a scenographic environment, Dual Light!
This interview has been condensed and edited for publication purposes.