Pair five musicians with five dancers, none of whom know each other, all of whom have completely different backgrounds in the arts world, and what do you get? Small Stage point 5, explosive collaborations set to stun audiences on a visual, emotional and artistic level.
Each pairing of dancer and musician has five to seven minutes to create a work of creative talent on the small, eight by eight foot stage of The Emerald theatre. Between each performance, audiences will be entertained by emcee Billy Marchenski, a "comically inappropriate Cupid," sure to invite controversy and laughs.
Small Stage point 5 is co-curated by UBC creative writing professor Tariq Hussain. Also as one of the performers, Tariq has been essential in the collaborations of the musicians.
"It’s mostly people who are from my own musical network," said Hussain on where he found such a variety of performers. A Juno nominated songwriter and Brasstronaut band member, Hussain is evidently well connected in the music of Vancouver.
Bringing in pop-rock singer-songwriter Louise Burns, lead singer of The Belle Game Andrea Lo, Euro-sounding band Woodpigeon member Mark Hamilton and Tarun Tspoon, Delhi 2 Dublin DJ, Small Stage point 5 is set to be an evening of firsts.
The final outcome of these diverse pairings and genres is unknown as of yet, even for those involved.
"Who knows what those guys are all working on," said Hussain. "They could come up with anything eclectic and wild."
The dance styles are also from a wide range of origins. Burns is paired with burlesque dancer Burgundy Brixx, Hamilton is paired with "waaking" dancer Clarence Tang and Hussain himself is matched with a dancer with a traditional Chinese dance background.
"It’ll be interesting because obviously I don’t play this style of music," said Hussain. "The music I’m going to do is going to have my more folky, sentimental style to it, mixed with what he’s doing."
Not only are the collaborations highlighting different music and dance genres, they are fusing different cultures together. Hussain highlighted the importance of discussion and communication through the rehearsal process, learning the background history of your partner and infusing different visual elements.
"We talked about lanterns, Chinese lanterns, as there’s not a lot of lighting options in the theatre," said Hussain. "You can certainly create a difference between light and absence of light, which is cool to play with. You’re thinking about the visual stuff, you’re thinking about what people can see from where they’re sitting, there’s a lot of different things to consider."
The creativity required to perform with a stranger of an extremely different background is an exciting and innovative concept. The limitations of technical modernisms in the theatre, the small stage and time constraints are stimulating to the performers, forcing them to think outside of the box to create pieces of artistic movement.
Doubtless, MovEnt’s Small Stage point 5 is going to be an exciting piece of theatre. It will expose and highlight different themes, ideas and genres in the world of performance, and is sure to keep the audience on their toes.
MovEnt's Small Stage point 5 will be taking place from February 12-15 at 8 p.m. at The Emerald. Tickets are available online and at the door, cash only.