Steady (2021) is a new performance work, choreographed by dance artist Justine A. Chambers, which considers the act of rocking to be a dance that can be performed by everybody. Regardless of size, scale, spatial orientation or energy exerted, the rock is a whole and joyous dance that can tap into the parasympathetic nervous system, encouraging the alleviation of pain and depression by triggering the brain to release endorphins.
Steady houses an archive of scores, videos, and instructions for rocking submitted by the public, and made visible through a series of consecutive solo performances by Stephanie Cyr, Alison Denham, Kate Franklin, Bynh Ho, and Vanessa Kwan. Performers hold within their rocking bodies these archived materials, simultaneously offering the archive and the practice of rocking in multiple permutations. Working with the notion that how the archive is assembled and shared tells the viewer more about the archivist than the archive itself, the performers become archivists, centring subjectivity and the events of the present moment. Steady is not a preservation of a past, but instead an action in the present. It is a living archive that is necessarily in a constant relational state of change.
Due to COVID-19 safety protocols, capacity is limited. Face masks are mandatory, and we ask you to use the hand sanitizer provided on arrival and to social distance throughout your visit (two metres distance from one another, except for household groups, which can remain together). All audience members are asked to self-assess before visiting. If you are not feeling well, please do not attend.
This performance is part of the project No Single Dancer curated by Jasmine Hynes, a candidate for the MA in Critical and Curatorial Studies at the University of British Columbia. The project is presented with support from the Killy Foundation and the Audain Endowment for Curatorial Studies through the Department of Art History, Visual Art and Theory in collaboration with the Morris and Helen Belkin Art Gallery at the University of British Columbia.
Choreographer: Justine A. Chambers
Performers: Stephanie Cyr, Alison Denham, Kate Franklin, Bynh Ho, and Vanessa Kwan
Lighting Design: James Proudfoot
Camera: Josh Hite
Justine A. Chambers is a dance artist and educator living and working on the unceded Coast Salish territories of the Sḵwx̱wú7mesh, Musqueam and Tsleil-Waututh Nations. Her movement-based practice considers how choreography can be an empathic practice rooted in collaborative creation, close observation, and the body as a site of a cumulative embodied archive. Privileging what is felt over what is seen, she works with dances that are already there – the social choreographies present in the everyday. Her recent choreographic projects include: Waking Hours, And then this also, One hundred more, tailfeather, for all of us, it could have been like this, ten thousand times and one hundred more, Family Dinner, Family Dinner: The Lexicon, and Semi-precious: the faceting of a gemstone only appears complete and critical. Chambers’ work has been hosted by Sophiensaele (Berlin), Contemporary Art Gallery, Morris and Helen Belkin Art Gallery, Agora de la Danse (Montreal), Cantor Fitzgerald Gallery (Haverford College), Canada Dance Festival (Ottawa), Nanaimo Art Gallery, Artspeak, Burrard Arts Foundation, Mile Zero Dance Society, Dance in Vancouver, Festival of New Dance (St. John’s) and Art Museum at University of Toronto. Chambers is the recipient of the Lola Dance Prize (2018), and was selected for the Visiting Dance Artist Program at the National Arts Centre (2018-2019). Chambers is currently Artist in Residence at SFU’s Community Engaged Research Initiative (CERi). She is Max Tyler-Hite’s mother.
Stéphanie Cyr is an independent dance artist, pro-amateur flower smeller, and enthusiastic playlist maker. They’ve had the pleasure of working with imPerfect Dancers Company (Pisa); Andrea Peña & Artists (Montreal); Inverso Productions/Lesley Telford, TWObigsteps collective, Action at a Distance Dance, Future Leisure, Les Productions Figlio, the Public Swoon, Ne.Sans Opera and Dance,Wen Wei Dance (all Vancouver); David Harvey; and Justine A. Chambers; among others. They’ve made and presented dances at Sawdust Collector, the Contemporary Art Gallery, Tremors Festival at Rumble Theatre, Shooting Gallery Performance Series #9, Café Concert #38, rEvolver Festival (all in Vancouver) and in people’s homes. Steph is also a project assistant and program manager at Made in BC – Dance on Tour, supporting artists in BC and Québec in their efforts in networking and presenting their site-specific work. They are currently situated on the unceded and ancestral territory of the xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam), Sḵwx̱wú7mesh (Squamish), and Sel̓íl̓witulh (Tsleil-Waututh) peoples.
Alison Denham is a dance artist living in Vancouver, BC. She has been involved in performance and creation since 1998, working with many choreographers, including recent projects with Justine Chambers, David Macintosh, and Billy Marchenski. She teaches Pilates and is currently studying Compassionate Inquiry, a powerful therapeutic approach developed by Dr. Gabor Maté for healing trauma and understanding mental and physical illness.
Kate Franklin is a dance artist who spent the first decade of her career in Toronto, where she was active as a performer, producer, choreographer, teacher, rehearsal director, administrator, volunteer, and mentor. Now she lives in Vancouver, on the unceded and ancestral territory of the xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam), Sḵwx̱wú7mesh (Squamish), and Sel̓íl̓witulh (Tsleil-Waututh) peoples. She is Associate Director of Modus Operandi (Vancouver), and works as a collaborator/dancer with many independent choreographers and companies such as Tara Cheyenne Performance, Company 605 (both in Vancouver), Justine A. Chambers, Jamie Robinson, Ne.Sans (Idan Cohen), and Valerie Calam/Company Vice Versa (Toronto). Kate’s own choreography has been shown most recently at Boombox and Accelerate 3.0 (both in Vancouver). Kate is the recipient of the 2014 Dora Mavor Moore award for Outstanding Female Performance for the solo “Gotta Go Church,” choreographed by Valerie Calam.
Bynh Ho is an independent contemporary dance artist, living and working on the unceded and ancestral territory of the xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam), Sḵwx̱wú7mesh (Squamish), and Sel̓íl̓witulh (Tsleil-Waututh) peoples (Vancouver, BC). His formative training began at Modus Operandi (Vancouver), before he continued on to earn his BFA from the Juilliard School, under the direction of Lawrence Rhodes. Bynh has had the opportunity to work with companies and choreographers including Company 605 (Vancouver), MascallDance (Vancouver), BODYTRAFFIC (Los Angeles), Action at a Distance Dance (Vancouver), Inverso Productions/Lesley Telford (Vancouver), Mardon + Mitsuhashi (Vancouver), and Crystal Pite. He has had the pleasure of performing across North America and Europe in works by choreographers including Pina Bausch, William Forsythe, Ohad Naharin, Sharon Eyal and Gai Behar, among others. Bynh’s interest in movement, mindfulness, and health converge within his own personal embodiment practice.
Vanessa Kwan is an artist, curator, and producer living on the unceded and ancestral territory of the xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam), Sḵwx̱wú7mesh (Squamish), and Sel̓íl̓witulh (Tsleil-Waututh) peoples (Vancouver, BC). They are currently Program Director at grunt gallery, and a curator/producer with Other Sights for Artists’ Projects (both in Vancouver).