Toronto Dance Theatre celebrates work of Christopher House
On January 20, Toronto Dance Theatre’s House Mix will celebrate the past, present, and future of Christopher House, one of Canada’s finest choreographers.
Traditional dancers are trained to a degree of obedience, similar to athletes who train in a particular sport. Contemporary dancers differ slightly in that while perfecting their skills, they’re also developing a sense of play which results in not one performance being the same, similar to sports matches, where anything can happen.
“It’s one of those things that I think really attracts us to sports,” says House. “Decisions are made in the moment based on what comes up and it’s interesting to create a situation with dance in which that happens.”
House says that in our digital world it’s a challenge to encourage people to come out and see live theatre. The advantage that contemporary dance has is that there is something intriguing and dynamic about watching people interact with each other in a live setting.
“Contemporary dance celebrates the body and group of people working together, but what is also interesting are the questions that come up that aren’t fixed in the narrative,” says House. “If the choreography is really working it’s making you sit forward in your seat with a sense of curiosity of what’s happening and with pleasure in knowing that you’re participating in the making of meaning.”
House Mix is a retrospective look at the works that House is most proud of and are also interesting for dancers to perform. “The pieces have complexity, rhythm, and musical changes. The dancers need to know precisely where everyone else is at all times,” says House. “And let’s be honest, one the great things about live performances is our recognition that there is potential for failure.”