Tracey Norman On The Walls We Build And Take Down

Upcoming CoWorks’ artist Tracey Norman is a driving force in her community, spending her time as a choreographer, teacher, performer, researcher, and mother. Tracey has been on faculty in the Department of Dance at York University since 2010, following the completion of her MFA in Choreography and Dramaturgy. She is an active member of the Intergalactic Arts Collective, an artist-run organization that focuses on the research and presentation of new performance work and is housed at Artscape Youngplace. Here, we talk to Tracey about her new work How to tear down a wall and collaborating with Half Second Echo.


Can you talk about the title of your new work How to tear down a wall? What kind of ‘wall’ are you referring to?


The wall(s) I’m offering in the title and within the piece are plentiful. They run the gamut from the huge walls which have been a part of the world historically and are a part of the current zeitgeist; the walls we put up in society and in our own communities – both figurative and literal; the walls we put up between each other in relationships; and the walls that aren’t that harmful but sometimes necessary. As I write this response I’m crowded between people on the TTC and have to put up some kind of imaginary membrane just to get my work done. This seems harmless and it likely is, but what happens when this becomes collective and habitual, and we stop seeing. Within the piece itself, the walls of the performance space are ever-present and the walls created and dismantled by the five performers are about how we as viewers, interpret their relationships and choices within the context of the full work.


This work is a collaboration with Half Second Echo. Can you describe your creative process?


Yes, this is a truly collaborative work in which I’m interested in the people, and the performance is an extension of these people exploiting and building upon what is already there. The work has grown out of a variety of improvisational beginnings, task-based work, and duet, trio and ensemble work which stemmed from clear directives that has been crafted over time into image-based narrative work. The process has always taken the space into consideration and we’ve only ever worked together in studio 103 at Artscape Youngplace (which is where the performance takes place). The creative process has been efficient and unrolled over three stages beginning last summer, then a short period in December and our current pre-production period. So in this way, memory has played a role in the process and impacted our choices – what is kept, left behind, forgotten, or changed. Much was built just recently to complete the work and it feels very fresh. I like that feeling going into production when it’s not too mastered and things feel risky but within their control.

How to tear down a wall is part of the DanceWorks CoWorks’ Series. The show runs April 24-29 at 8pm @ Artscape Youngeplace, Studio 103. Ticket are available here.


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