Kate Nankervis of Bonne Compagnie: 2011 Toronto Fringe Dance Interviews

I’m Lucy Rupert, I’m the artistic director and dancer for Blue Ceiling dance, based in Toronto. I have a passion speaking with other dance artists about how and why they make their work. This interview is with Kate Nankervis, one of three women who have come together as Bonne Compagnie for this year’s Fringe Festival. Their work, Ab Intra, is an integration of three solos on the theme of privacy versus spectacle.

See below for our conversation:

LR: What drew you to participate in the Toronto Fringe Festival?

KN: The fringe has a real spirit of performance, taking chances to do whatever you can think up and you get what is considered a LONG RUN in the dance world…. 7 shows!

With tickets prices being cheap, people who might never see dance have no excuse not to at least take a chance on us.  We are looking forward being in a theatre festival where fresh eyes from outside the dance scene can give comment on the show.

LR: I am intrigued by the notion of the “private becoming spectacle” especially in a world where media is full of fake disclosure of private moments through “reality” based TV shows — how have you broached this idea in your work?

KN: The notion of private becoming spectacle came pretty naturally as we were 3 artists who wanted to create individual solos, at the same time had a desire to be part of a show to which we could work in a collaboratively.  Our challenge was to integrate these 3 solos.  We are interested in offering the audience a voyeuristic experience.

By nature, solo work can be incredibly private.  Besides the obvious of working alone, you are at the essence of it all: your thoughts, your desires, your dreams and your body. You can’t get any more private or intimate than that.  Yet, the ironic part of it all is we are doing it to display it and offer it to others in the performance arena.

I consider how our very personal moments are shared on Facebook and Twitter …I wonder what really separates our closest relations from public relations as they can know the same very personal information about us all with the click of a mouse.

We did spend one evening during our residency [creating this show] decompressing over a new episode of So You Think You Can Dance. The 3 of us formed our own judging panel. We spared no emotions or considerations for these contestants. It was all for a good laugh after a long day of doing just what these contestants were ultimately after… to dance.

It brings up some big questions about how the most private, intimate moments can become prime entertainment when seen from a certain perspective.

LR: How did you, Amanda Acorn and Elke Schroeder come together as collaborators?

KN: The 3 of us spend a lot of time together. We drink good coffee, red wine and eat chocolate together. But for this project specifically, when my name was pulled for Fringe it was the perfect opportunity to work on a solo and I wanted to be in the studio more with these girls.

Luckily, I got a residency at Earthdance to create my solo, so when the fringe spot came up, the residency offered the perfect opportunity for the girls to come out and join me to share the solo making process.

We worked alone for about 3 weeks, then for a whole week– I’m talking a 24 hour day if we could work that much — we were together, sharing our dances, bedrooms and pillows.  We were showing our dances, exchanging feedback, trying stuff out and really challenging what we are capable of within the solo research we were doing.

LR: You are an emerging artist and I don’t think emerging artists get asked often enough: what is your personal artistic vision?

KN: WOW… big question. At this point, I think my vision is to be interested in the work I am making, both from a dancer’s/choreographer’s perspective but also from a personal place.  I see the things that surround me in a new light and wish to understand the world differently through the artwork I am making.

LR: What should audiences expect with Ab Intra?

KN: I think if there was a warning or disclaimer message for this program it would be: These characters could appear in your dreams but more likely in your nightmares tonight.

Their stories are intimate, delusional and neurotic. And there will be some wicked great dancing!

Ab Intra
Bonne Compagnie

Direction, Choreography & Cast: Amanda Acorn, Kate Nankervis, Elke Schroeder

Original music: Linedrawing, J.P. Tamblyn, Chris Willes
Production Design: Shannon Doyle
Lighting Design: Kevin MacLoed
Genre: Dance, Physical Theatre
Warning: Strobe Light, Smoking

Venue: 1 Tarragon Theatre Mainspace

60 min.

Fri, July 8 8:45 PM 111
Sat, July 9 1:45 PM 114
Sun, July 10 3:00 PM 121
Mon, July 11 10:15 PM 131
Wed, July 13 5:45 PM 141
Sat, July 16 12:30 PM 159
Sun, July 17 7:30 PM 170

All individual Fringe tickets are $10 at the door (cash only). Tickets are available online at www.fringetoronto.com, by phone at  416-966-1062, in person at The Randolph Centre for the Arts, 736 Bathurst Street (Advance tickets are $11 – $10+$1 convenience fee).
Several money-saving passes <link to: http://fringetoronto.com/fringefest/passes.html> are available if you plan to see at least 5 shows.

Photo credit: Yoann Malnati