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A clump of dancers dressed in reds and blacks make a sculpture on stage.

Photo credit: Chris Randle

See & Be Seen (2015)

Created: June 2015

Venue: Roundhouse Performance Centre

Full length work 

Choreography: Naomi Brand in collaboration with the dancers

Dancers: Bryna Andressen, Cherylann Buckman, romham pàdraig gallacher, Jennifer Gudewill, Sarah Lapp-Bourne, Candice Larscheid, Peggy Leung, Neil McBurney, Diana McKenzie, Harmanie Rose, Adam Grant Warren, Rachel Whitmore, Marty Wong.


Made with support from The Roundhouse, The Vancouver Parks Board and the Canada Council for the Arts.

Black screen with text: “Union Street Films Present” People playing a variety of percussion instruments - bells, metallic canisters, a bodhrán. A dance class is in progress, with some wheelchair and scooter dancers, and some standing dancers. They all move through a series of playful exercises, sometimes together, and sometimes to their own beat. There’s a lot of joy in the space. In a different dance studio, dancers move in unison “All Bodies Dance Project: See and Be Seen” Nine dancers wearing red and black all move in a circle in a black box theatre stage. Naomi Brand talks on camera. Trout Lake Community Centre, a modern building in a park setting. Naomi and Mirae (All Bodies Dance Co-Founders) enter the community centre. Mirae Rosner speaks on camera. Sarah Lapp-Bourne (All Bodies Dance Co-Founder) wheels into the centre with her assistance dog Rico and talks on camera. Participants set up the class. Black screen with text: “The All Bodies Dance Project was launched in September 2014 in order to bring together dancers with and without disabilities to explore an integrated dance practice and work towards a performance of new choreography in June 2015.” “Open Dance Class, Trout Lake Community Centre” The dance class begins with everyone in a circle, Ben Brown in one corner at a drumset. Mirae is speaking. Then everyone goes through a series of exercises together - reaching up, massaging ears, thumping chests, placing hands on various parts of their bodies, passing an imaginary ball from one dancer to the next in creative ways. Harmanie Taylor, dancer, speaks on camera outside in the park on a bright day, and then dances with a standing dancer. Outside shot of the Roundhouse Community Centre, a modern space with tall windows and brick exterior. Adam Warren, dancer, speaks on camera as a class is chatting off to the side. … or, a long story shorter ... but also somehow turned out long lol: The film shows several class participants and founders talking about their experiences with dance and in the classes, what brought them there and what excites them about it. There are a wide range of folks, some using manual or motorised wheelchairs and scooters, as well as standing dancers with and without mobility aids. This is a gathering of people who expressed interest in taking part in creating a show called See & Be Seen, and takes us through the entire process of creating the show. People move through various warm up exercises, individually and in groupings. The exercises begin to reveal potential choreographic possibilities and a show starts to come together. The various pieces are written / drawn on paper and are laid out on the floor. They can then be moved around to try out different possible orders for the performance.  Eventually we’re at the day of the dress rehearsal, in the theatre where it’ll be performed. All of the dancers are in a large circle, moving in tandem, and finally taking a big breath in together, and releasing it with a collective whoop. The volunteers at the door are taking money and handing out tickets, programs and buttons. As the audience waits to be let into the theatre, they have the opportunity to wander through a display of photographs of the process for this show as well as photos from the classes. The show begins with a duet between manual and motorised wheelchair users. Then there’s a group piece incorporating a long piece of red fabric spanning the width of the stage, dancers using long red ropes to pull and bind and release. There’s a duet between a manual wheelchair user and a standing dancer where we see the standing dancer draped across the back of the wheelchair dancer who is now out of his chair on all fours. They move almost as one organism, then spin together, finding moments where one relies on and carries the other. We get an interesting view when a camera is attached to the wheels facing upwards so that we see the wheelchair dancer swirling in what feels like stars from the theatre lights overhead.  There are larger-group pieces as well, including some where the group is moving in tandem, little duets break away, finding interesting ways of moving together and apart. The show culminates in a large, swirling, frenetic piece that ends with everyone in stillness around a manual wheelchair which has been turned on its side, one large wheel continuing to spin with a folding chair on top of it. When the show is done, there’s a Q&A section, and then people spill out into the atrium and offer feedback on what they just witnessed.  The last part of the film goes back to the rehearsals for the show, with participants sharing their observations and reflections on how they got there, what excites them about dance, what it means for them, why it’s so important to have spaces like All Bodies Dance. Black screen with text: “Directed, filmed and edited by: Martin Borden Music: Clara Shandler Percussion: Ben Brown Adam Warren See and be Seen Performers: Bryna Andressen Naomi Brand Cherylann Buckman romham gallacher Jennifer Gudewill

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