Wonky Little Show

“You shouldn’t write this,” Monique Romeiko cautions with a chuckle, “but we’re 40. All three of us.”

Besides herself, Romeiko is referring to Aimée Dawn Robinson and Erin Flynn, her fellow performer/dancers in a creative collaboration called begin you again, which will be unveiled October 4 and 5 at the Old Fire Hall.

The Whitehorse dancer and choreographer is quick to stress that the physical change a dancer’s body experiences over time is merely one aspect of the artistic journey.

“Your own esthetic, your own training, and your own interests as a dance artist keep evolving, so I would say our level of performance is more important than how high we kick our legs.”

While dance is an important component of the hour-long show, it is far from the only element.

“It’s hard to pin down, because it’s a live music show as much as it’s a live dance show, as much as it’s a 3-D video show. And sculpture. It’s very, very, very full,” Romeiko says.

“I guess it’s a multimedia show, but it’s still a performance. The audience will sit down in a theatre and watch, so it’s not like an art gallery installation or something like that.”

The title, begin you again, came from a musical piece by Jordy Walker, who composed the score and will play live during the performance.

“I loved the title for various reasons. We’re playing with time, we’re playing with space, we’re playing with not necessarily logical, linear narrative, so I like the sort of play on vocabulary,” Romeiko says.

“There’s something childlike about it. And we’re doing everything lowercase, so it’s a little wonky, and this show’s a little wonky, so it works for me.”

The work will showcase the interplay of live music and dance with paper sculptures by Helen O’Connor and 3-D videos by Marten Berkman, who will also manipulate graphic visual elements created by former Whitehorse resident Baptiste Bohely, who now lives in France.

Romeiko began working on the piece over a year ago, but says the various collaborators have contributed almost equally to its development.

“Everyone’s a really mature and trustworthy artist, and we’re all really committed, so we’re just going to arrive with the best that we have,” she says.

In addition to Flynn, who is flying in from Montreal as a guest artist, former Whitehorse dancer Gail Lotenberg came from Bowen Island, B.C. to act as rehearsal choreographer.

Romeiko is not sure what to expect from this weekend’s audiences.

“There is enough of the familiar that I have a feeling people will have a lot of moments of pleasure,” she says.

“But most people I’ve talked to are deep thinkers. They will search for images, they will search for meaning, they will search for poetry within art work.”

That’s what she loves about Yukon audiences, Romeiko adds.

Robinson offers a slightly different perspective.

“I try not to project too much on the audience, or even to speak of them as a unit, because each person is an individual,” she says.

“Each viewer brings their own sensibility, their own practice even, their own perspectives and experiences, so I can’t really pretend that it’s one unit. I just look forward to being there, and to sharing what we’ve been working on with people.”

Showtime for begin you again is 7:30 p.m. on Saturday, October 4 and Sunday, October 5, both at the Old Fire Hall. Admission is $22. An informal audience-artist talkback will take place after each performance.

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