This Thursday night marks the first time since 2006 that all the members of Sometimes in Nova Scotia will be dancing together on the same Halifax stage. The cheekily named young contemporary dance collective, who are spread out across the country, debuts its new piece Xs—-the fourth in its 7 Deadly Sins series—-on a double bill with Susie Burpee’s premiere of Apple Darkness, featuring dancer Danielle Baskerville.
SINS founders Jacinte Armstrong, Susanne Chui and Sara Coffin, who now lives in Vancouver, are joined by dancers Elise Vanderborght and Cory Bowles. The group has been developing this piece with Vancouver choreographer Daelik at the idyllic Ross Creek Centre for the Arts for almost five weeks. “It’s the only way to enclose Cory,” laughs Armstrong, referencing Bowles’ insane number of projects. He also composed Xs’ original music.
Daelik specializes in contact improvisation: a collaborative process that uses physical contact to explore different types of movement. While it may not be apparent to the audience, says Coffin, contact improv is more about artistic intention and “body-mind centring,” focusing less on what you look like. “We didn’t want someone to come in and just give us moves and counts,” Armstrong explains.
Exploring the ugly sin of greed with a beautiful set, the dancers will be using over 100 white small boxes as props, referencing the covetousness desire to collect or hoard. Xs is a very theatrical, physical piece, almost a “play within a play,” says Coffin. She describes it as almost like looking into apartment building windows. “There could be a narrative, but it’s not linear; you don’t need to know what it is.” Although the dancers have a storyline in their minds, Armstrong is sure that “the audience will be able to relate to the images and themes. We’re inviting participation into our world.”
SINS’ open structure has successfully tackled one of the biggest problems in the Halifax artistic community: people leaving for bigger centres, taking their talents, energy and ideas with them. The dance collective, which originated in 2004 while Chui was living in Toronto, keeps a cross-country artistic exchange alive, by bringing in choreographers and other performers to town, but it also pushes Nova Scotian talent out to the rest of the country, too. SINS has performed in Vancouver several times over the past couple of years.
The double bill, presented by Live Art, runs from October 7-9 at the Sir James Dunn Theatre (8pm,