The first show in our CoWorks Series is SaMel Tanz’s Mind-ful(l). Here we talk to founders Samantha Schleese and Melissa Hart.
DANCEWORKS: Can you tell us about your company SaMel Tanz? When did you start working together?
SAMEL: SaMel Tanz is a Toronto dance company known for powerful performances that fuse urban and Latin movement with contemporary dance techniques. Dance artists Samantha Schleese (MA, BFA, York University) and Melissa Hart (BFA, York University) founded SaMel Tanz to share vibrant stories of the human experience with multi-generational audiences. SaMel Tanz are also extensively involved in the commercial dance industry and have facilitated and adjudicated countless youth initiatives across the country.
DANCEWORKS: Your upcoming performance Mind-ful(l) explores the experiences of those affected by mental illness. Can you talk about why you decided to explore this topic through dance?
SAMEL: In any given year, 1 in 5 Canadians are affected by mental illness. It is something that impacts our community, the youth we work with, and our loved ones. We felt compelled to advocate for awareness and put an end to the stigma around mental health.
DANCEWORKS: Can you explain the title of the work?
SAMEL: We were looking for a word that represented ‘head space’. At times your mind can be cluttered hence the ‘full’ part of Mind-ful(l) came to be. We added the parentheses to include the idea of being mindful of self and others and also represent that people who struggle with mental illness often feel isolated.
SaMel Tanz’s Mind-Ful(l) runs February 7-9, 2019 at 8pm at the Dancemakers Studio for Creation. Tickets are available here.