The Chimera Project Dance Theatre presents “Unclearing”

(Courtesy of Vitantonio Spinelli)

On April 5 and 6, the Chimera Project Dance Theatre will premiere Unclearing, a double bill dance performance, at the Harbourfront Centre Theatre featuring the work of Sophie Dow, York alumna, and Malgorzata Nowacka-May, Chimera artistic director. 

Dow was born and raised in Treaty 1 territory (Winnipeg), and after graduating with a BFA in dance, worked as a freelance dancer, choreographer, sound designer, bodyworker and artistic associate of four dance companies. Her piece, Agrimony, is a multidisciplinary exploration between herself and Lara Reznek, a singer and songwriter originally from Vancouver but currently based in the UK. 

“Much of my work is inspired by my travels of this country’s landscapes, sacred territories and all the wonderful people I’ve met along the way, who have manifested their history, knowledge and magic into my body through movement and music. Agrimony specifically arose out of a series of collaborative artistic seeds planted with my dear friends Laura Reznek, Vitantonio Spinelli, and Christian Borrego.

“It all began in 2018, when Vita, Christian, and I brought a paper mâché mask (made by Christian) into an old-growth forest in BC and created a short, experimental dance film on a whim. That footage was passed onto Laura who was in need of  some visual content for a brand new song which grew into an album and a long-term creative, collaborative relationship,” shares Dow.

Reznek explains that before this project, she was about to move on from music. “I’d had a semblance of a song (which would turn out to be the beginning of Agrimony) and with a plan to just record that and finish it in order to be a part of a film [Dow] was working on, I got to work. But the seed was planted and the songs kept coming!”

“Since meeting Sophie, it opened me up to seeking out other forms of creative collaboration, as after years of a rather lonely existence as a solo singer-songwriter, I realized the importance of partnership. I’ve since dipped my toes in other dance-centred projects, as well as several short films, theatre performances, and podcasts. I feel like my process varies from project to project as I find my footing, but it’s all rooted in curiosity and openness. I try my best to let things come as organically as possible,” says Reznek.

When Dow moved to Toronto, she began to connect with her Métis heritage after seeing a performance by Kaha:wi Dance Theatre (Santee Smith). She shares that she has been on a “long journey of reconnection” since being adopted at birth and not raised with traditional teachings, and that her heritage is a big influence on her creative process.

“Today, I am most active with V’ni Dansi, sharing traditional & contemporary Métis jigging in schools and public events and supporting the company as artistic associate. In my personal creations, I weave these steps, values & traditions into the contemporary rehearsals, processes and events I host,” says Dow.

She also adds that her time at York contributed greatly to her multidisciplinary approaches, specifically being involved in the Dance Students Association, the York Dance Ensemble, the Creative Arts Student Association, and being a work-study student in the dance production department. 

“When I’m crafting my own projects, I’m simultaneously building the choreography, design, performing, and writing the grants and funding proposals. Although I’ve been intrigued by these areas for my whole life, my time at York allowed me to study and develop these skills and put them into practice,” says Dow.

Agrimony will be presented alongside Soft, created by Nowacka-May. To learn more about this double bill and where to get tickets, click here.

About the Author

By Sydney Ewert

Arts Editor

Sydney is in her third year at York University studying Dance. She loves to travel and explore new places. When Sydney is not editing, working, or studying for her classes, she is likely going for walks or learning new recipes.


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