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Monthly Archives: June 2018


Q&A with choreographer KRISTEN CARCONE


Kristen Carcone is a Toronto-born, internationally acclaimed dancer, choreographer, teacher, and reiki healer. She is a company member of Third Rail Projects (New York, NY), currently performing in their Bessie award winning production Then She Fell . Kristen is a guest artist with cross-disciplinary performance company, FROG IN HAND, and has also performed the original works of Jason Parsons, Nicole Von Arx, Kate Wallich, Gabriel Forestieri, and the Kuperman Brothers. She has performed internationally in a variety of shows and festivals including: The Phish Concert at Madison Square Garden (New York, NY), Tangente’s Danses Buissonnieres (Montreal, Quebec), The New Prague Dance Festival (Prague, Czech Republic) and Art Gallery of Ontario’s MASSIVE PARTY (Toronto, Ontario).

In 2016, Kristen was named one of the 25 Most Influential Young Choreographers to watch by Narcity Toronto. Her choreography can be seen in Joseph Gordon Levitt’s My Favourite Things video, Cardinal’s Pride music video Masterpiece, and in Supa’Nova, a new play by Maria Corina Ramirez. Kristen’s work has been described as “energetic, highly entertaining and refreshingly playful” – Sarah Lochhead/The Dance Current. As a creator of experiential theatre, Kristen has great interest in mindful performance and healing through the arts. She encourages cross-disciplinary collaboration between artists of all ages, abilities, and backgrounds, aiming to share stories that are inclusive, honest, and, of course, entertaining. Thanks to funding from the Toronto Arts Council, and support from lululemon NY, Kristen’s latest work 4-7-8 will premiere Fall 2018 in Toronto.

Kristen is Co-Founder and Co-Artistic Director of TOES FOR DANCE, an internationally recognized non-profit organization that has been featured in the Globe and Mail, Mississauga News, and The Dance Current Magazine. She graduated from the dance division of New World School of the Arts in 2011 earning her Bachelor of Fine Arts Degree with Highest Honors. www.kristencarcone.com

BDL: Tell us a bit about your background. How did you get started in the world of dance and choreography?

KC: I have been telling stories and making shows since I was three years old. Growing up I had the privledge to try many extra curricular activities. Piano, swimming, gymnastics, karate, soccer…but dance is was what I chose to commit to at quite a young age. I attended a public arts high school program during the day and trained at a competitive dance studio in the evenings. Gaining concert dance and commercial dance knowledge simultaneously was truly a gift as it allowed my toolbox as performer, storyteller, and dance maker to become incredibly versatile. For my post secondary education I chose to dive deeper into the concert dance world, earning my BFA in Dance at New World School of the Arts in Miami, Florida. My interest in character and narrative really surfaced in these four years and is the direction I have taken both my choreographic and performance career ever since.

BDL: What three words would you use to describe your choreographic style?

KC: The Dance Current Magazine describes my work as “energetic, highly entertaining, and refreshingly playful.” I’m totally into that!

BDL: During your week at BDL, you chose to revise and expand upon an existing piece of yours called, “Dinner is Served.” Can you tell us a bit about that piece and what you’ve been working on this week?

KC: Dinner is Served started out as a piece that was about social programming and social anxiety. What is our inner dialogue vs our outer dialogue? How do we want to behave vs how were we taught to behave? Dinner is Served originally started as a 3.5 minute work created on a group of youth in Ottawa, ON. As we were making the piece I quickly realized the work was destined for film. Thanks to Roger Galvez, Jesse Hunt and a cast of amazing NYC professional dance artists, a film version was made in 2017. After remounting it for stage at the Y-Cabaret in 2018, I started to wonder what it would be like to turn Dinner is Served into a full evening length show. This “expanded-world” is what I worked on at BDL. Being gifted time, dancers, and studio space allowed me to dive deeper into the back stories of the Dinner is Served characters. The BDL company and I were able to develop and experiment with new storylines and potential scenes. This process allowed some darker, more socially relevant themes to surface. It suddenly made the humour in the original work gain new importance. I can’t wait to continue exploring this full length version of Dinnner is Served.

BDL: What is your biggest takeaway from this week with Broadway Dance Lab?

KC: Gratitude. This week reminded me how important discussion, experimentation, and physicalization is to the creative process. Due to lack of funds and lack of time, I often have to create choreography alone and in my head. Getting to collaborate and play with possibilities, with no pressure of outcome, is a gift! Thank you BDL!


Q&A with choreographer HELEN SIMONEAU

HELEN SIMONEAU, a native of Rimouski, Québec. Described as “a Choreographer-on-the-rise” with a style that is both “athletic and smooth”—Dance Magazine, Simoneau has been commissioned by The Juilliard School, Oregon Ballet Theatre, the American Dance Festival, UNC School of the Arts, UArts (PA), The Yard, Springboard Danse Montréal, and the Swiss International Coaching Project (SiWiC) in Zurich. She was a resident artist at Baryshnikov Arts Center, Bates Dance Festival and has received fellowships from The NYU Center for Ballet and the Arts, the Bogliasco Foundation, and twice from the North Carolina Arts Council. Her company Helen Simoneau Danse has been presented in Austria, Brazil, Canada, France, Greece, Italy, Spain, Switzerland, and has toured throughout Germany, Asia, and the United States. Notable venues that have presented her work include The Guggenheim Museum (NYC), Dance Place (DC), Joyce SoHo (NYC), Tangente (Montréal), The Aoyama Round Theatre (Tokyo), the L.I.G. Art Hall Busan (South Korea), Jacob’s Pillow Inside/Out (MA), PACT-Zollverein in Essen (Germany), and Athens International Dance Festival (Greece). Her work was also presented at the 13th Internationales Solo-Tanz-Theatre Festival in Stuttgart, Germany, where she was awarded 1st place for Choreography. 

We sat down with Helen to discuss her background, process, and goals for her time with BDL. A transcript of that conversation is below.

BDL: What made you want to become a choreographer?

HS: I began dancing late and was fortunate to be accepted into a rigorous conservatory program, NCSA, which meant that I was surrounded by classmates with a lot of previous training. Composition and improvisation classes allowed me one time a day where I wasn’t behind, and even I think that not having much dance experience was good for me in my creative work. I didn’t have an idea of what dance was supposed to look like and so I was free in my choices. After I graduated, I danced for other choreographers, but always found myself most fulfilled when I was creating my own work.

BDL: What three words would you use to describe your choreographic style?

HS: Dance Magazine called it “athletic and smooth,” which fits perfectly. I would also throw in “intricate.”

BDL: What goals did you have for your time with BDL?

HS: I knew I wanted to create with the entire ensemble. My goal was to develop choreography that is rooted in patterns, intersecting bodies, and play with partnering.

BDL: When you find yourself stuck during a rehearsal, how do you get out of it?

HS: With the dancers – always the dancers. They can offer up solutions to any problem, so I rely on them. Either I express what I am trying to do, the overall idea, or I break it down into smaller tasks that they can work on to get us closer to my vision. Even though I’m in charge, I definitely don’t feel like I have to have all the answers. I have to trust the talent in the room.

BDL: What is your biggest takeaway from your time in the Lab?

HS: I was reminded that establishing the ideal conditions for dance making is as important as the making itself. Having positive ready-for-anything dancers, a beautiful large studio with plenty of natural light, and having all of of this offered every day consistently (same time, same place) was a huge gift and created an ease to the week allowing me to focus just on the choreography.