Typecast Dance Company Presents: Tomato Soup
The final season of Canada’s So You Think You Can Dance pulled in 1.1 Million viewers. There was much confusion with the show’s cancellation last year, considering it was one of CTV’s most successful Canadian-made programs. What this really proved was that the general public in Canada has a strong interest in dance.
For all those disappointed SYTYCD fans, there are plenty of events happening in this city featuring talented dancers and choreographers.
I recently attended one such event held at the Winchester Street Theatre: Tomato Soup performed by Typecast Dance Company, and choreographed by Pamela Rasbach.
The event also featured an opening piece by emerging choreographer Missy Morris entitled Mecha, which included an original score played live on stage by the Toronto band, Drala.
Here is our Q&A with both choreographers:
Pamela Rasbach, Tomato Soup Choreographer
Q: Prior to attending Tomato Soup, I had been admiring the video for “Elephant Gun” by band Beirut, which seemed to have a small influence over your choreography. Why did you decide to use Beirut’s music for the majority of your piece?
A: I was surfing the internet when I found Beirut. I had the idea before the music, and the music seemed to fit the idea. I haven’t seen the music video, but I will have to check that out!
Q: Tomato Soup was such a playful, quirky piece, and I appreciated how difficult the staging would have been. Can you expand on the process of coming up with the storyline and choreography?
A: This piece was a little different for me, because I incorporated more improvisation into the work. More of the “staging” was left up to the dancers. I found it interesting to watch each run of the show, because it was never done the same twice. This demanded a lot of the dancers: they were asked to memorize the choreographed sections, as well as make decisions on the spot of what was going to happen.
Missy Morris, Mecha Choreographer
Q: Mecha had a pulse – a continuous rhythmic heart rate reflected in the choreography and music, which created tension through out the piece. Could you describe the process and challenges with this style of choreography?
A: Rhythmic connection is definitely ALWAYS a dominating characteristic of my choreography. This process was an interesting one, choosing to work with live musicians. I actually had to let go of my sometimes-restrictive use of counts and rhythmically tied movement, since the music was being created at the same time as the choreography. Without music, I had to find a rhythm that came from within – a more physically driven beat.
It was a frustrating process at times, because I was so used to responding directly to music to create movement. Instead of setting the choreography directly to Drala’s songs, I used early recordings and improvisations of theirs to create movement. The process ended up being much more rewarding and exciting because there was a certain amount of chance involved when we first paired the two. Then it was just a matter of finding those moments when music and movement matched up really well.
Q: Call it an occupational hazard, but often when I am viewing different artistic disciplines I relate it to films. The strong power struggles between your male and female dancers reminded me of the film Antichrist. Does film ever influence your choreography?
A: ABSOLUTELY! Funny that you mention that movie – while I haven’t seen it, it’s been on my list for quite a while. I’ll definitely have to watch it now!
I’m a little obsessed with sci-fi and horror movies. Having worked at a couple movie stores over the past few years (currently Suspect Video), I’ve had the chance to watch quite a few! Off the top of my head, some movies that have inspired me are Tetsuo, District 9, Scanners, Jacob’s Ladder, and most of David Lynch’s films.
I love movies with a surrealist aesthetic, those that plunge you into some bizarre world you’re not sure you’ll come back from. You mentioned tension as well – tension that is effectively created in film is so transfixing, and along with an effective score, I have the chance to try and really palpably create that tension with movement.
Choreography by: Pamela Rasbach
Dance Artists: Brittany Castiglione, Hilary Crist, Mateo Galindo Torres, and Daniel McArthur
Designed by: Matt Sweet
Lighting by: Oz Weaver
Nicole Cornish – Communications Director | Pamela Rasbach – Artistic Director | Matt Sweet | Production Director
A new live work by Missy Morris
Collaborators: Julie d’Entremont, Miranda Forbes, Nick Melymuk, Christy Stoeten and Megan Nadain
Set Design: James Venn
— Sonia GemmitiBack to portfolio ›