Dance Preview: Relative Notions of contemparary dance

By Samantha Leitinger

Everyone knows Calgary is growing, and it’s growing fast too. There are a lot of opportunities to make money in our city, but Calgarians need to unwind. After all, all work and no play makes Johnny a dull boy. One of Calgary’s leading contemporary dance companies, eko Dance Projects is putting on a fantastic way to insert some play into the equation with a Relative Notions The show presents a series of pieces connecting with audiences through personal experience, representation of catastrophic world events and even humour. Each choreographer involved in the performance is given free reign to work with the concept that everything is relative using their own personal style. With over 40 dancers ranging in age and level of professionalism and choreographers from all over the world, audiences should be able to connect to what they see on stage.

“[People should feel] comfortable with contemporary styles of dance,” says Erin O’Connor, the artistic director and founder of eko Dance Projects. “People don’t need to be afraid that they’re going to see something strange just because it’s contemporary dance.”

O’Connor has danced throughout her life covering every genre imaginable including highland, rhythm, tap, jazz, Cuban, and African to name a few. In 1991 she decided to move to a different level, founding eko Dance to act as a professional dance repertory and training company.

“[I wanted] to create a company that heightens what dance can be as an art form,” and O’Connor says. “[And to] have a venue for my own artistic expression for the way that I see the world.”

She admits it was difficult to market the company’s image in the beginning, because no one could put a concept to contemporary dance. People’s confusion is understandable because contemporary dance is such a broad, umbrella-like title. Essentially, it’s having the freedom of expression of the body, versus being pinned to a specific style. The system and method of contemporary dance was born out of modern and post-modern systems and ideas. It’s more of the idea of trying to communicate with audiences, rather than committing to a particular style of movement or genre of music.

Eko Dance takes this philosophy to heart, composing their season with projects or shows, showcasing talent from community guest artists, international professionals and members of the eko Youth Company. If you’re still wondering what contemporary dance is, stop using the excuse to stay home. Instead, O’Connor offers simple advice.

“People need to come see the show,” she says.


Leave a comment