WhaT,? is a wild excursion across a kinetic landscape of personae, including a Canadian paratrooper and a cowboy in a mid-western diner. Animation artist Jordan Bent and video maker Chris Randle set each scene with a cornucopia of images projected on a giant billboard-shaped screen, while lighting designer James Proudfoot creates the terrain through which the dancer moves. A one-man-show through movement and tale-telling, illustrating the connections between fathers and sons.
The choreography conjures an endlessly surprising range of contexts for us. Letters between choreographer Jennifer Mascall’s parents during World War II and stories of the dancer’s own father weave into this fictional, danced narrative. We find ourselves in a whirling disco, a WWII airplane jump, a country and western diner, and caring for the aged, to name but a few elements of this powerful and intimate dance tale, which is accompanied by superb visuals and sound score.
A chap book style catalogue, offering insight into the six year history of What,? and perspectives on the work by writers from four different disciplines was also created as a viewers’ companion piece and historical documentation of the work. Premiered in close collaboration with performer Ron Stewart, this work is now available for booking 2013 14 15 featuring a new solo artist.
Vancouver native Ron Stewart's 20 year plus career in dance began in Montreal and has spanned the country. After 4 years with Toronto Dance Theatre, Ron has primarily been working on the West Coast with Battery Opera, Lola McLaughlin, EDAM and with Mascall Dance with whom he acted as Guest Artistic Director for the 2003-04 season. Ron began dancing at the age of 23 when he moved to Montreal to study ballet with Russian ballerina Sonya Vartanian. Prior to that, he studied forestry at BCIT, where his instructors told him he should be an engineer in the bush because he "moved well". When not dancing, Ron teaches naked yoga at Skyclad Yoga and studies a variety of other body/mind training techniques including pilates, body mind centering, gyrotonics and martial arts.
Jennifer Mascall creates dance. Her fascination with movement also inspires her to lecture, teach, edit, dramaturge and engage in any other opportunity to pursue dialogue about the current state of the art form. After an early career as a solo dancer, she became the founding co-artistic director of EDAM, and is currently artistic director of Mascall Dance, a company with a reputation for innovation and sumptuous dancing. The company's work has been seen internationally in Italy, Monte Carlo and Scotland.
Bean Bar Zambuka and the History of WhaT,?
What,? derives from a previous work entitled Bean Bar Zambuka - an ensemble piece for five dancers that takes place in small and inconvenient spaces as a way to realign existing notions of space. This process reveals archetypes, human foibles, and fragments of narrative. The piece had already included letters written between Mascall's parents during World War II and as the piece developed, stories of Stewart's own father began to weave their way into the dance, evolving into a fictional narrative about father's and sons. The new dance demanded new choreography and a new title, hence WhaT,?
The Bean Bar Zambuka Dancers
Jo Jo Zolina