Multidisciplinary works explore the complexity of lived experience featuring community participation & AR technology
TORONTO, ON — Harbourfront Centre presents the world premiere of two deeply personal and expressive new works from Kaeja d’Dance: 31 (TouchX + I am the Child of), on stage November 11 and 12 at 7:30pm and November 13 at 2pm at Harbourfront Centre Theatre, as part of the international contemporary dance series, Torque. TouchX, choreographed by Karen Kaeja, and I am the Child of choreographed by Allen Kaeja, both consider the impact of memories on our lives and bodies and take us on a multi-sensory journey towards connection and resilience. TouchXexplores the ephemeral nature of touch and its essential role in our lives, while I am the Child of examines the concept of perspective, using augmented reality and multiple livestreamed camera angles to embody the idea of one’s personal experience.
Audience members are encouraged to interact with the performance through their mobile devices, adding another layer of perspective to the dance experience.
“We are thrilled to present not just one, but two world premieres from Kaeja d’Dance that both lean into interconnected themes of memory, connection, vulnerability and recovery,” says Nathalie Bonjour, Director, Performing Arts at Harbourfront Centre. “These works remind us of the universal power of reflection, resilience and touch.”
Featuring eight dancers, TouchX examines the difference between what remains in the body through wanted and unwanted physical contact, contrasted with the resonant impact of soulful touch on the heart. This piece includes intergenerational community volunteers and company dancers from various backgrounds including Indigenous, Black and racialized communities, who explore a world of dissociation, fantasy, surrender and connection. After being kept apart due to the pandemic, this performance demonstrates that human touch is vital in our lives.
I am the Child of embodies personal experience through dance and features a physical investigation of childhood memories that leads to unflinching stories of resilience. Allen Kaeja collaborated with Bruce Barton and Vertical City to develop different perspectives and perceptions for the audience through augmented reality and camera angles filmed live by the nine dancers during this multimedia production. Every performance is unpredictable and varied. Mobile devices are welcome and are an essential part of the viewing experience.
To reflect and embody the movement of a diverse collection of deeply personal stories, Karen and Allen collaborated with more than 25 movement artists, choreographers, dancers and designers in the creation of these works, including Rodney Diverlus, Michael Caldwell, Nickeshia Garrick, Irma Villafuerte, David Norsworthy, Dr. Pil Hansen, Simon Rossiter, Aria Evans, Mio Sakamoto, Sonja Rainey and Bruce Barton.
Kaeja d’Dance innovates in the performing arts through dance and gesture – its work explores identity, personal stories and the complexity of being human by integrating live performance,
dance film, and community engagement. The company provides platforms to create new Canadian professional dance works. In 2019, Dance Ontario awarded Allen and Karen a Lifetime Achievement Award for their contribution to dance in the province, and they have been finalists for the Toronto Arts Foundation Celebration of Cultural Life Awards. The company is in its 31st year and has produced more than 200 original works and 28 dance films, and received more than 40 national and international awards and nominations.
As part of the Torque contemporary dance series, Harbourfront Centre will host a Torque Q&A immediately following the performance on November 12, 2022.