Mairéad Filgate on Early Infuencers and Acrobatics

Mairéad Filgate, choreographer and dancer with Throwdown Collective, tells us about her teen dancing days, a stint as a Moldovan acrobatic, and the upcoming Throwdown Collective show.

DANCEWORKS: Can you talk about your early professional dancing days? Who were some of the choreographers you first worked with? What kind of work were you doing?

MAIRÉAD: When I was in high school, I had the opportunity to perform in a professional work choreographed by Gabby Kamino with ten women from across generations. It was an incredible experience and introduced me to Laurie Raymond and Maryanne Marsh from PBJ Dance Projects, who I went on to dance with for several years. We performed work by Gabby Kamino, Sharon Moore, Sharon Wong (NYC), and Laurie Raymond. I also performed independently for Colleen Friedman in Toronto and Calgary. The work was all very physical and athletic, and very passionate. Gabby’s roots were in Graham and Horton; Laurie was influenced by jazz.  I was so lucky to have these early professional experiences, and to have met such influential and supportive women.

DANCEWORKS: You perform as both, an individual artist and as a member of Throwdown Collective. How and when did you create/get involved in Throwdown Collective?

MAIRÉAD: In 2008, Brodie, Zhenya, and I were performing and touring together with Dusk Dances in a piece by Sylvie Bouchard, the Artistic Director of Dusk Dances. We had a lot of fun together – the whole touring cast did. For fun, the three of us were doing synchronized back flips from a bridge into a river in Haliburton and dubbed ourselves the ‘Moldovan Acrobatic Team’. We jokingly talked about making a diving piece together and when Sylvie Bouchard heard us, she said, “If you guys are serious, make me a proposal”. And so we did.

We wrote a grant to help fund the piece and came up with the name Throwdown Collective, and it stuck. The piece ended up being centred around a couch instead of a bridge (too logistically challenging). During our collaboration we found that we worked very easily and well together and so we continued. Here we are, still going.

DANCEWORKS: Throwdown Collective’s Various Concert will be presented in February. Can you explain the title of the piece?

MAIRÉAD: Concert means harmony or agreement. It also references a dance concert. Various refers to the ways that we are different individuals within this togetherness. We are varied and ourselves, diverse; and yet while staying true to ourselves we try to find a togetherness in energy and connection. Various also refers to the fact that we are sometimes together, sometimes not, and in different ways. Parts of the piece are compositionally like a puzzle that gets broken and put back together again.

DANCEWORKS: Thank you, Mairéad

Looking for more Throwdown Collective? Check out these artist interviews with Lina Cruz, Brodie Stevenson, and Zhenya Cerneacov.

DanceWorks presents Throwdown Collective at the Harbourfront Centre Theatre on February 9-11 at 8pm. Click here to purchase tickets.


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