Concordia dance students are looking to cause a commotion this weekend, with the help of a dance company founded by fellow Concordians. CoMotion Farm, the brainchild of Concordia student Amy Blackmore, kicks off its first annual Dance Week at the Mainline Theatre Jan. 16, giving up-and-coming dancers the chance to showcase their talents on a bigger stage.
The idea for CoMotion farm came when Blackmore, 25 noticed there were few opportunities for dancers to showcase their work in professional environments. “Aside from Art matters and the end of semester shows, there really wasn’t much available to me,” she said. “And as a student, the opportunities that were available cost money – which I didn’t have.” She spoke to Prof. Ken Roy about it, who recommended she put on her own show. Blackmore decided to take a year off from school and founded CoMotion Farm in 2009 with five friends, three of whom are Concordia dance students and graduates.
The week opens with Anisa’s Movie Night, where two old breakdance movies will be shown. Next, dancers and choreographers will perform to live music with the help of audience members at the Indyish Dance Mess. In the following few days, a series of dance and production-related workshops will follow, such as tap dancing, grant writing, and publicity. The week will close with the main event, the Common Space Showcase, where nine pieces will be performed. With the Showcase, Blackmore hopes to bring different audiences, dancers, choreographers, and producers together, creating an eclectic mix with the ten selected choreographers.
Unlike most shows put on by Concordia students outside of school, which take place in small venues with audiences consisting mostly of friends, Dance Week gives its participants the benefit of greater exposure and real-world experience. CoMotion Farm worked with its choreographers as they remounted and improved previous performance pieces until they were showcase ready. The company helped them with production details and provided the resources needed to develop their individual visions.
“It fills a void that’s there in dance right now, ” said Blackmore. “With dance, you have school and then you have maybe joining a company, being at Place des Arts, doing big things.
“Figuring out what to do in the meantime is the problem. This is filling that little space, so you can gain experience before you go forward.”
Monica Coquoz and HÃ©lÃ¨ne Messier, co-choreographers in the Showcase and Concordia students, say that Dance Week allows them to examine their work more closely than in school, and develop in-depth ideas that they cannot explore over the span of a semester.
“This is a really great chance to use work that we’ve already created and rework it,” said Coquoz. “Also it’s nice to know that we’ll be in a different venue, with a different public. So it’s a great opportunity.”
Messier said it allowed her to improve the quality of her final product. “You got the time to deepen [the work],” she said, “and I find that super enriching.”
Blackmore, who currently serves as Creative Director and Executive Producer for CoMotion, said the company gave her the chance to do the production work she craved. “There’s definitely an interest, audience wise and participant wise. You just have to make it happen,” she said.
CoMotion Farm’s Dance Week runs until the Jan. 16 at the Mainline Theatre. Tickets to the showcases are $8 for students, $10 for adults.