Lucy Rupert On Coincidence and Creation

DanceWorks’ upcoming CoWorks show Mirrors created by Lucy Rupert and Paulina Derbez opens this month. In a set of two interviews we talk to the creators/performers to learn more about their collaboration and exploration of the connections between music, movement, and text.

First up is Lucy Rupert, the artistic director of Blue Ceiling dance (celebrating 15 years in 2019!) and a freelance dance and theatre artist.  Lucy’s choreography has toured throughout Ontario and to Montreal, New York and Stuttgart, Germany. She also manages the blog that focuses on the intersection between art and science through interviews with local scientists of all disciplines.

DANCEWORKS: Can you talk about how you came to collaborate with Paulina Derbez?

LUCY RUPERT: A series of crazy coincidences. Years ago I was rehearsing at CCDT with Fujiwara Dance Inventions and a woman in the studio next door was doing crazy violin and voice work that blew my mind. Fast forward a little and I saw a woman at my son’s daycare that looked familiar so I searched for her on Facebook and realized it was that amazing violin and voice woman. Our kids went to the same daycare—nowhere near Cabbagetown!

I sent Paulina a message and introduced myself and asked if she wanted to meet. From our first conversation came the idea to create something together. We had a shared experience of being told in our classical music training to be still, to stop feeling and moving so much. We used our desire to break from that restrictive approach as the launching point for Mirrors. It has grown into something else but that kernel is deep within and the closer we get to our premiere, the more often we have to remind ourselves. We are trying for something vulnerable and free.

DANCEWORKS: Do you have a specific role in the creation of Mirrors? Or is there a fluidity to your work?

LUCY RUPERT: Definitely fluid. Paulina and I plunged into working together in the spirit of finding the total performer in ourselves— accessing movement, speaking, singing. There was even a thought I might get back to my original instrument (piano) but luckily that idea was curtailed and better ones flowed. Paulina has been more in charge of the music selection and I have taken the lead of the movement. However, many things have arisen from instinct and we are big fans of each other’s multiple talents and always quick to speak up when new impulses are particularly thrilling. We also owe a lot to our director Liza Balkan for meeting us as fluid performers and never questioning our roles.

DANCEWORKS:  Mirrors includes the use of digital painting (along with text, music, and movement). What is digital painting?

LUCY RUPERT: The artist Jaime Lujan Oros creates his work by physically and digitally painting on his computer in response to us in the studio. Jaime projected his creation on the rehearsal room wall and created in the moment, and we could see it as we moved.  This has become a recorded projection for our performance. Ideally, we would have him always create live but at this point it is not feasible. His contribution is musically and kinetically dynamic, an echo and a kaleidoscope of our actions. It is not a complex projection technologically but it is complex in colour and rhythm. Jaime and Paulina had worked together before and she suggested him as a way to add depth and more challenge to us.

DANCEWORKS: Thank you, Lucy.

DanceWorks CoWorks presentation of Mirrors runs April 25-27 at The Citadel: Ross Centre for Dance. Tickets reservations can be made via email at


Stay Connected with DanceWorks



    Donors are the heart of our season.

    We acknowledge the Toronto/Tkaronto as One Dish One Spoon Indigenous territory. We honour the ancestral caretakers of this land: the Haudenosaunee Confederacy, the Wendat and most recently the Mississaugas of the Credit First Nation who have a Treaty relationship with Canada. We are grateful to have the opportunity to work in their community, on this territory. We pay our respects to their Elders past, present and future.