MERGE: Naishi Wang, Nyla Carpentier, Modus Operandi

A mixed program of works including Taking Breath by Naishi Wang (Toronto) along side a new work from local artists My brief history of Fancy Dancing by Nyla Carpentier, and Modus Operandi performing Attempted Measures by Tiffany Tregarthen and David Raymond.

Friday, 14 April, 2023, 7:30pm

Roundhouse Performance Centre, 181 Roundhouse Mews, Vancouver, BC V6Z 2W3

Taking Breath

by Naishi Wang (Toronto)

Plastic waste. Climate change. Shortage of fossil fuels. Human consumption. Loss of biodiversity. Marine Life. These are often at the forefront in discussions regarding our impact on the environment. Even when we talk about air, we are concerned about carbon emissions and the consequences such as global warming, melting ice caps and the ozone. Seldom is clean breathable air discussed as it is. Will we run out of breathable air?

Breathing – an innate action of taking in air and expelling it from the lungs.“Taking Breath” brings the subconscious to the conscious, the passive to the active; questioning how we have taken breathing and the air we breathe, for granted. The piece is a choreographic inquiry exploring the multiple facets of breathing in our lives – What is it like without breathing? What is it like with too much breathing? How does breathing affect movement? How does breathing affect our thoughts? When does breathing start to mean something? When does breathing become communication? When does breathing start to matter? When will air start to matter to us?

Naishi Wang – 王乃石 is a dance artist based in Toronto and was born in Changchun, China. At the age of 11 years old, he began with Chinese Classical dances, Chinese folk dances and Ballet training at Jilin College of Art. In 2004, he moved to Canada and joined Toronto Dance Theatre, where he was active as a full-time company member for nine years. Since 2015, the award-winning performer has been inspired to work as an independent choreographer. Wang shares the belief that performing arts create imaginary perspectives for the future. His rigorous practice is themed on intertwined approaches from “communication” to “translation” with somatic and conceptual points of view. Desire and honesty are a considerable part of his works, expressed through repetition, contortions, waving, impulsion, and shaking. His tactile aesthetic was nurtured by Chinese calligraphy, political arts, conceptual music and experimental film. Brings him to question how to open up the realm of perceptions.

Naishi received Respiration Du FTA in Montreal 2021 and Creation Funds from CanDance network. He is a residency artist at Citadel + Company Toronto, NAC in Ottawa and Dance 4 in Nottingham (UK).

Ivy Wang, a Toronto based digital product designer, videographer, and lighting designer. Ivy enjoys collaborating with artists on creative works that may influence people’s lives. Ivy has a real passion to combine technology and art together to tell stories to people. Ivy started to get in touch with theatre work back when studying at the University of Toronto and was the lighting designer and dramaturgy director in the drama club, after graduating in the U of T, she started to work as a freelancer on lighting design for both TV shows and theatre works. She then continued her study on video production at Ryerson University to make her be able to work on both as a lighting designer and a videographer.

Taking Breath Creative Team

Naishi Wang – Choreograph and Perform

Ivy Wang – Concept and Lighting

Francoise Hüsges – Dramaturgy

Outside eye: Paul-André Fortier and Ginelle Chagnon

Taking Breath was nominated and recognized by Toronto Dora Mavor Moore Award for “Outstanding Performance” in 2018. 

Photo by Francesca Chudnoff

With additional guests

My brief history of Fancy Dancing

by Nyla Carpentier (North Vancouver)

About: “This piece examines the stories I was told about the Fancy Shawl Dance. How it started and became a popular style in the Powwow circle. It’s been nicknamed the butterfly dance due to the dancer’s grace and movements. Though I was also told that this dance was about the inner warrior and liberation, as one Elder once said to me “We didn’t dance like no butterflies”. The dance started in the late 50’s early 60’s as women took the shawls off their arms and put them on their shoulders. They started doing footwork and spins, some were told it was not lady-like. When I was child, I started dancing as a traditional dancer though quickly switched to Fancy Shawl cause I thought they had more fun. As I got older and was able to go to the goth nights at clubs I’d hear music that reminded me of Powwow music. Dance has always lifted me up whether it’s in the Powwow Circle or the dance floor. Movement has helped me process intense emotions and helped me move through them. This is what this piece explores, my history with Fancy Dancing and how it’s helped me find balance in life.”

Creative Team

Choreography and Performance by Nyla Carpentier

Music mixed by Alex Kennedy

Nyla Carpentier (Tahltan, Kaska, French, Scottish) is a multifaceted performing artist currently residing in North Vancouver. She’s an actor, writer, powwow dancer and workshop facilitator. Nyla started to dance at powwows when she was a tiny tot and now has over 35 years of experience. She shares her experience by teaching the various powwow styles with focus on the fancy shawl, sharing the dance steps and the history. In 2011, in partnership with Raven Spirit Dance Company, she started the popular Powwow Bootcamp series.

Modus Operandi

Attempted Measures by Tiffany Tregarthen & David Raymond (Vancouver)

MO students supported the research of “Fathoms” by Out Interspace commissioned by Netherlands Danstheatre 2. Attempted Measures is created with resulting materials and gives the MO dancers an opportunity to continue processing and share the concepts of the work that they contributed to. 

Attempted Measures is created by Tiffany Tregarthen & David Raymond and performed by MO 2022/23 Dancers; Alex, Elizabeth Armitage, Samantha Buss, Kaitlin Cheung, Emily Clarke, Madeleine Cruz, Emma Galvin, Grace Garvey, Esrael Haile, Denae Harpham, Julian Hunt, Abby Hunter, Ryan Jackson, Natasa Kong, Anna Lamontagne, Bridget Lee, Rianna Logan, Rachel Lui, Amélie MacDonald, Satya Mari, Kluane Peabody, Jamie Ranney, Nikki Schenk, Allie Shiff, Audrey Sides, Jada Tang, Yuha Tomita, Bennett Tracz, Kaya Tsurumi, Emma Wallace

The mission of Modus Operandi (MO) is to nurture unique emergent voices in dance by continuously investigating and investing in a practice-based curriculum that welcomes all the possible ways to dance. MO seeks to remain nimble and responsive to the evolving dance ecology, to provide meaningful facilitation of dancers’ relationship to the form so it is empowered, long-lasting and uniquely theirs. Alumni are celebrated as some of Canada’s most radical and inspired new artists producing, creating and performing in an enormous range of formats, environments and organizations.

Tickets: Tickets can be purchased in advance through the Eventbrite link below and they will be available for purchase at the door. Each ticket is priced on sliding scale of $8 – $33 based on a “Pay What It’s Worth” (PWIW) model where you are encouraged to give in gratitude for the perceived value you will receive. Please note, no one will be turned away due to financial need.

We appreciate the support of the Roundhouse, Canada Council for the Arts, British Columbia Arts Council, City of Vancouver, and the Rosedale on Robson Hotel and Suites.
Without them this show would not be possible!