Rob Kitsos – Contemporary Technique @ WOW 2011

We started light, but it gets juicier…

Rob Kitsos returns to WOW to share with us his hip, personal, and wholly unique, Contemporary Technique, August 22 + 23, 10–11:30am.

Rob is teaching technique in tandem with Justine A. Chambers. Register for all 5 classes for $55 + HST.

Please see our WOW page for Rob’s bio, his class description and for info. on how to save your spot in these exciting classes:

What is your favorite music to teach to?

I like anything live. As a university prof- I have the luxury of having live musicians most of the time. I remember teaching hip-hop at the University of Washington with a drummer and a base player- that was amazing…In terms of ‘kind of music’- being a drummer- I gravitate to percussion or music with a strong pulse or rhythm. I tend to want to move to music like James Brown. Recently I have found some samples that are very basic, so the focus stays on the movement in class as opposed to the music.


Where do you go to find dance clothes in Vancouver?

All I need for dancing is sweat pants. I have been given a few items from Lulu and some other trendy active-ware shops, but they’re not my favorite. When I go dance clothing shopping, it’s usually at a second hand store or outlet. All I look for is sweat pants that make it easy to move in and don’t make my bum look big.


What do you normally eat for breakfast?

I am the one who is in charge of breakfast in my house of 2 kids, wife, and a large dog. This consists of strong coffee and one of four things: Toast with butter and almond butter, pancakes or crêpes, migas (fried tortilla pieces mixed in with eggs and other good stuff), or hot cereal. Lately I have been drinking “greens’- a nasty tasting green vitamin and mineral powder with water. Seems to make me feel healthy.


What have you been working on during your sabbatical from Simon Fraser University?

This year I have tried to make an effort to take time to reflect on my work. I have been able to step back and feel less anxious about how much I need to do- and focus more on what really interests me. This has been an incredible luxury. I created several new works, taught community classes and intensives, gave talks, started writing a text on dance aesthetics, created and recorded music and visual art, served on panels and worked with graduate students. The work I’m doing now is a new piece called Barego, which will be performed in Dancing on the Edge. It’s a dance performed by myself, Marc Arboleda, and two dancers from Ballet BC -Leon Feizo-Gas and Alexis Fletcher. What this process has taught me so far is that while part of me doesn’t have an interest in “dance” in any of its traditional contexts, working with such amazing dancers reminds me that I love dancing.


Have these activities influenced your teaching of contemporary technique? If so, how?

Taking space from my class and thinking about new ways to approach what I want to pass on has led me to Gaga (not the lady- but the dance). This new approach to movement language originating from Batsheva Dance Company’s director Ohad Naharin is a great system that taps into many aspects of technique that interest me. I love to find new systems like Gaga and Forstyth’s Improvisation Technologies that move us out of our habitual patterns, bring images and creativity into technique and make dance accessible. While it’s hard to pull the Gaga method directly into my contemporary class- I want to figure out a way to take the essence of it somehow- or at least play with it and see what happens.


What words of advice do you have for today’s emerging dance artists?

Recently a friend of mine came to Vancouver from New York. He has just started running his own dance company in New York and was given advice from a colleague that I thought was good for artists in general- especially those starting out. “Don’t look or listen to the right or left- just keep looking and moving forward.” In other words- don’t get discouraged by what others say or expect of you or get caught up in what you think you should be doing- just do it and don’t look back.