“Dancing from the inside out”

‘Actualize’ opens the Winnipeg Contemporary Dancers’ 55th season

Image provided by Winnipeg Contemporary Dancers

Canada’s oldest and longest running contemporary dance company, Winnipeg Contemporary Dancers (WCD), will debut their all-Winnipeg talent show Actualize on Nov. 29.

As part of its 55th season, WCD artistic director Jolene Bailie hopes to celebrate both contemporary dance as well as her love for Winnipeg with the show.

“Part of [the show] comes into my place in the community and what I have done for the last 20 years.

“Part of it comes from my absolute love of the Winnipeg dance community and the dancers that have devoted their lives [to contemporary dance],” Bailie said.

“It’s abstract, it’s contemporary dance, all of those things […] it really is dancing from the inside out, and often dancing about ideas and subjects that people have a hard time dialoguing about or even finding the words to describe the sensation they’re feeling.”

Actualize is composed of 10 dancers, five completely new to WCD and five who have experience with the company. The three works featured in the show are all choreographed by local choreographers, one by Bailie herself.

Bailie said this is her first work in a WCD show. Called “The Space In-Between,” Bailie’s piece is “a reflection on how we really get to know people, how we relate to people and who we are in those moments in between.”

“We see things like a prism — [our perspective of the world] bounces off different edges and reflects back on us — but we also do that to other people, and I think the things we take in on that sort of subtle subconscious level about people, and that intangible sense of who somebody is, is also really reflective of who we are.”

The main purpose of Actualize is to capture a glimpse of what Winnipeg is, as a community, right now.

Contemporary dancers “are really driven to expressing the very personal side of humanity,” Bailie said.

“It’s kind of like, realistic fiction in a sense.

“It could really happen, or you really felt that way at some point in your life and it has that sort of open deep connection in the gut as opposed to watching a very pretty show.”

The name of the show, as explained by Bailie, is to create an opportunity for the dancers, the creators and the audience to really express and share the present moment.

“The gift of present is something that is so unique to dance,” she said.

“Dance is an artform that doesn’t live in a manuscript, or on a wall, or in a book.

“It really requires the absolute, hundred per cent gift of presence in that moment.”

Bailie hopes the show will bring the audience into the experience and hopes the audience will reflect on how they actualize themselves in the different pieces — if they can see themselves in the work and if they can relate to the work.

“We’re not telling the audience, ‘This is what the show is about and this is what we want you to see,’” she said.

“It’s like, ‘What is your actual experience?’”

Actualize is a work designed to reflect “on humanity on a deep level” and get an “inner glimpse of people right now.” The show is “important for our evolution, for us to realize our potential and capacities of human beings.”

“People who choreograph and work in dance are very good at reading people,” Bailie said.

“It’s their job to decipher body language, what’s going on in scenarios and then to create work.”

“Contemporary dance is not just the form of dance that is contemporary […] it’s a form of dance that is created by a very contemporary mindset,” she said.

“That’s what drives the work.”


Actualize runs from Nov. 29 to Dec. 1 at the Rachel Browne Theatre. For tickets or more information visit winnipegscontemporarydancers.ca.