Arts Umbrella Dance Company — From Physical to Emotional

Vancouver, BC

Artemis Gordon & Lynn Sheppard

Having the exclusive privilege of being allowed to watch (and photograph!) the rehearsals for the Arts Umbrella Dance Company’s Season Finale May 26 to May 28 at the Vancouver Playhouse brings some extraordinary perks. Paradoxically they involve watching dancers not yet at their usual level of perfection. That perfection is, now, an accepted token at any opening performance of this dance company.

The paradox has all to do with watching dance with the concommitant sound of two women, Arty (Artemis Gordon) and her associate Lynn Sheppard, advising, correcting, coaching all with a high level ofphilosophic content. Where else would you hear something like this, “All art has to start from the body. It is physical. If it is really physical it will become emotional.” Such is how serious the dancers take this instruction that I watched one in tears as she navigated temporary failure. She was coaxed by the duo that seems like a married couple of many years. One begins. The other ends. Or if Arty says, “There are three pauses we must discuss,” and she brings up two, Sheppard will then go to the third without a cue.

Such is this level of cerebral thought that one marvels when watching five or six young men stomp their feet in obvious incoordination with the shifting of their heads two-and-fro, when Arty points out, “Start with your feet not with your head. Then once you have that, the head will come along.” And so it was as I watched.

The wig-wise ghost that haunts Granville Island

Link to: Arts Umbrella Dance Company — From Physical to Emotional

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