DanceWorks presents IN ABSENTIA, created by Sharon B. Moore for JDdance. The world premiere interweaves dance, puppetry, and live action video design. Here, we talk to choreographer Sharon B. Moore and learn more about her inspiration and collaborative process with artists Jordana Deveau and Jesse Dell.
DanceWorks: The title, IN ABSENTIA, can you tell us how it came about? Also, is the use of uppercase letters significant?
Sharon: Jesse Dell and Jordana Deveau, lost in a cardboard filled space, was my initial image for the show. I thought if they where “SOMEWHERE” in this cardboard world, separated, in a land of devastation, askew from the regular world they knew, it followed that they were absent from SOMEWHERE ELSE. To me, this state was “in absence”. In that the world deals with the human spirit, I thought the Latin translation heralded timelessness. The capital letters illustrate the grandness of the world we are seeking and the stability of the spirit within an ever-shifting environment.
DanceWorks: How did you come to work with JDdance?
Sharon: In knowing a smidgen about Jordana and Jesse, having never worked with them directly, it seemed they focused on discovering unknowable or uncharted territory in their practice. They are a unique and vibrant team. I enjoyed their tenacity and care in what they did and I approached them with the idea of making a new work for their company. They were extremely open to finding the right fit, size, and challenges across the boards. There is a palpable vibrancy when we are in the room together. Everything moves very fast which is something I enjoy as it keeps motion and ideas alive in the creative space.
DanceWorks: The piece includes the creative use of cardboard and skeleton figures. How did the use of props and a set evolve?
Sharon: The skeleton figures in a massive amount of cardboard was there from day one. I often get an immediate big world vision like a cinematic universe; three dimensional with sound, lights, set, and motion in technicolor. From there, it becomes a matter of fleshing it all out. I have an affinity for objects, shapes, and spaces. I consider all of them great friends. I often scout for or purchase objects I see in my daily travels. They seem to speak and evoke a narrative in relation to thematic ideas swirling anew or filed for later use in my mind. As we worked with the skeletons and cardboard it was clear to me that the cardboard was both creation and destruction, as well as, mother nature and human brutality. Thus, the additional cast was born – a brutal and seductive force of five entities, half human, in contrast to the main characters.
DanceWorks: Thank you, Sharon.
DanceWorks presents IN ABSENTIA choreographed by Sharon B. Moore for JDdance November 21-23, 2019 at the Harbourfront Centre Theatre. Tickets are available here.