Meet the artist Marissa Wong
“Round, open – but also really ambitious artistically. “Want to hang from the ceiling? OK, lets look at that.” The community emphasis is on research and individuality.”
artist-in-residence, on BLOOM
Photo: San Ahn
You are invited to BLOOM, a MascallDance artist residency which focuses on choreographic work midway through its’ creation process.
Join us for two Tuesday “tastings” of these works-in-progress:
WHEN February 20th and 27th, 2018,
WHERE 1130 Jervis our studio in historic St John’s Church Hall.
WHAT Five minute dance samplings are paired with wines selected by outstanding Vancouver sommelier Lisa Haley (Vancouver Magazine’s Sommelier of the Year 2017) and a comedic commentary.
TICKETS at the door: $10 includes wine sampling.
Meet artist in residence: Marissa Wong
Sources and background: I raced out of high school early (still wearing braces, still a bunhead) to Ballet Austin. From there I was accepted to study at Alonzo King LINES Ballet in San Francisco. In San Francisco I was able to develop my voice, study improvisation and further my technique in an environment that encouraged individuality.
Along the way – I rarely mention this – I auditioned for Chance to Dance hosted by Nigel Lythgoe and to my surprise made it to the top 24. It was crazy, gruelling, intense. You’d do a five hour rehearsal on one two minute duet – relentlessly, over and over. Since though, I encounter the other dancers I shared this experience with and we bond over that period in our lives – an enduring connection.
Ballet has played many roles in my life, from a thirteen year old training in summer intensives, then a trainee with Ballet Austin, to dismantling conventional approaches at LINES, and now teaching. I truly love ballet. It has become my foundation of regular practice. But the ballet world isn’t for me, the pressures were not sustainable for my personal exploration. My journey made it clear that I need to be rooted in… that raw feeling I yearned for in the empty studio, just movement, improvising, rain on the windows.
Rather than return to Vancouver from the States, I lived in Montreal and the dance scene there for awhile – but I longed for water and green things. I came home.
Not knowing exactly what to expect, I dived in and found myself almost immediately energized by the local dance scene here. TWObigsteps collective became rooted on the West Coast, and the projects and interweaving of ideas has been pretty much non-stop since.
On the project As a third-generation Chinese, I’m also researching my own connection to culture – through discussion, history, and food. The material I’m working on at BLOOM is part of a project looking at food, memory, and an individual’s association to culture through dining. I’m interested in documenting stories within the body; as digestion relates directly to a physical sensation, I hope ultimately for a visceral sense of history.
On BLOOM: It’s unique; there’s a warmth. Rather than audition, you submit ideas and are invited, so right from the beginning we’re released from proving ourselves; the focus is turned to the work. We’re connected to other artists, some congruent, others very different from you. There’s so much space, and support, and you can’t distract yourself with production values like lighting and so on.
It’s round, open – but really ambitious artistically. “Want to hang from ceiling? OK, lets look at that.” The community emphasis is on research and individuality. So I’m going by impulse, I can be vulnerable. There is safety to explore, and perhaps reach other choreographic ideas. Ideas are available – and you become available to ideas. The studio work reflects our subject, food: comfort, connection, camaraderie. So what we’re doing is “Let’s move – and we’ll see what’s coming out today”. It’s liberating.
Final venue? No idea yet!
Ideal dream venue? It’d be a feeling of family, and take place in the round. I imagine a Medieval feast environment, with entertainment in the middle amid the dining and interaction.
An artist that inspires: I think of Jeong Kwan, Chef and Buddhist monk, on Chef’s Table, who inspires me. There is a humbleness to her approach, a simplicity that doesn’t have to be groomed or proved. I admire her trust in the unknown and the rooted care she applies to her craft.
BLOOM #1 2018, 5:30 PM Tuesdays Feb 20 and 27, 1130 Jervis, $10
Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org, 604 669 9337. www.mascalldance.ca