Good Women Dance Collective returns to the stage with Convergence

· The Pulse
By Paul Blinov
in the Arts Roundup

Good Women Dance Collective's newest work — how many emails does it take to make a dance piece? — is set to premiere on Nov. 11, a year later than initially planned.

It'll be danced as part of Convergence, Good Women's annual showcase, which will mark the collective's return to the stage after a hiatus during the pandemic.

"There are parts of this process, as a producer and performer, that I feel I can easily slide right back into and other parts that are taking more energy to bring back into focus," Ainsley Hillyard, one of the Good Women dancers, told Taproot. "Absence does make the heart grow fonder, and I feel like I have a new relationship with dancing."

The new work was developed with Montréal choreographer Sasha Kleinplatz. It explores the dancers' memories of previously learned choreography — the moments and movements from the past that stick around in body and mind.

"Sometimes remembering and performing old choreography is very nostalgic and beautiful and other times it brings up a horrible memory or experience," Hillyard said. "It's hard to divorce the movements and choreography from my emotions around them. I didn't realize how much my body actually remembers old choreography, and how easily some of these old dance moves come back to me. It feels a bit magical."

"I love how Sasha balances seemingly contradictory things," added Kate Stashko, another member of the collective. "Working hard and being gentle; persisting and giving in; structure and chaos; pleasure and effort; doing many things and doing nothing."

Convergence, which runs Nov. 11–13 at L'UniThéâtre, also features two other acts: Saddle Lake Cree fancy dancer Dustin Stamp, and Montréal's Karen Fennell.

Good Women Dance Collective

Good Women Dance Collective is back on stage at Convergence. (Marc J. Chalifoux)

Returning to the stage isn't something that Good Women is taking lightly.

"I feel pretty privileged to be able to come back to a work, and basically have another full rehearsal process, and re-open it and rediscover it and then share it," Stashko said.

"That wasn't the case for a lot of other dance pieces and artists whose work got suspended by the pandemic, many of them just had to leave things behind — shows that never happened, works that never got finished. It feels very special to be able to do this, and to finally bring it to a moment of sharing space and time with a live, in-person audience."