LONE WOLF is an evening of solos, each exploring facets of Joshua’s persona, both public and private. We sat down with Joshua to learn more about the work and his process, and soon discovered that there was a time, when he almost stopped performing.
Here is an expert of our conversation.
DANCEWORKS: Can you tell us about your early dancing days?
JOSHUA BEAMISH: My mother is a ballet teacher and an RAD examiner, therefore I was crawling around the studio from birth. I started with tap dance and then studied ballet. By the time I was 5, I was sneaking into the studio to improvise to random cassette tapes and asked my mother if I could perform an improvised solo in the recital. Incredibly, she agreed and I performed a very esoteric piece called The Old Man, which consisted of me hobbling around the stage adorned in a Santa Claus beard, accompanied by atonal electronica. My path, was pretty much set from then on.
DANCEWORKS: Let’s talk about your upcoming show LONE WOLF. How did the idea for the show come about?
JOSHUA BEAMISH: In 2011, I was pretty sure that I was ready to give up performing and I was going to focus on being a choreographer. Then, Wendy Whelan from New York City Ballet asked me to create a duet for her and I, that would tour over a three year period. I devoted myself to training full time again. Being on stage with Wendy consistently reignited my desire for new performance challenges.
I find it very stressful to dance in my own ensemble group works, which lead me to the idea for a solo show. I wanted to work with choreographers, Ame Henderson and Noam Gagnon, as they were creators who wildly contrasted my own choreographic methods. They were also people who would be generous enough to understand the delicate nature of my process of re-imagining my own relationship to performance.
DANCEWORKS: The show is an evening of solos – can you talk about some of the challenges and rewards when dancing a solo?
JOSHUA BEAMISH: The biggest challenge is that you are the choreographer’s sole focus. At times, this can become mentally and physically exhausting and overwhelming. For Noam Gagnon’s work, I had to work very hard to build up the stamina to be able get through the piece, as I had no previous training in his form of relentless vocabulary.
For Ame Henderson, the challenge is that the work is never done, as you are always on the way to further questioning and alternate possibilities. The awareness of that could be frustrating if she weren’t such a caring director.
The ultimate reward has been uncovering these new versions of who I am as an artist and more specifically, as a collaborator. I had to resign a lot of trust to Ame and Noam, and I couldn’t be more pleased with the result of opening myself up to a shared creative process.
DANCEWORKS: Thank you, Josh.
DanceWorks CoWorks presents Joshua Beamish/MOVETHECOMPANY, LONE WOLF on Nov 3-5, 2016, 8pm @ Dancemakers Centre for Creation. BUY TICKETS!