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Studio seeks to expand movement horizons

author: ethan williams| Contributor 


There’s lots to check out at New dance Horizons this year/Pixababy

New Dance Horizons preparing itself for another year

On the outside, the humble building at 2207 Harvey Street looks nothing more than just another house, or maybe a small apartment complex. But enter inside New Dance Horizons, and you will see that it is much more than that. The Regina dance company’s home includes a brightly lit dance floor, with natural light streaming in from the windows that line that room. It is not the largest of studios, but the space (which has risers for seating, full lighting, and a technical booth) is unique in that way. It is not intimidating, but rather inviting to those that enter.

Below the space, in a small basement area where one usually can find things not related to dance such as water heaters, furnaces, and concrete, is the hub of operations for New Dance Horizons. Here, schedules are made, classes are paid for, and Robin Poitras (the company’s Artistic Director) sits at her desk, preparing for the upcoming fall season at the studio. The Carillon caught up with Poitras to find out what is in store in terms of classes and events for their 33rd season.

“One of the things that’s exciting for me is that Diane Fraser, who started New Dance with me in 1986, is coming back to do some teaching for a ballet class.”

Fraser’s Ballet Basics “will work through the foundations of ballet training, exploring basic exercises and expanding them into the more intricate, athletic, and graceful movements that make up the classical ballet repertoire,” according to the class description on the studio’s website.

In addition to this, another local artist is coming back to work for a second year to help with other projects.

“We are entering our second year of a co-artistic directorship with Edward Poitras…who was always interested in looking at ritual and performance and ceremony. He’s come onboard this year as co-curator for the whole performance series.”

For people interested in looking at classes, what makes New Dance Horizons unique from other companies is its in-depth focus on the body. Poitras explained how the practice of Somatics is deeply ingrained in the work that they do.

“Somatic refers to the cells in the body. There’s the somatic nervous system which refers to the portion of the vertebrate system and it regulates all your voluntary movements. And then there’s somatics as a group of alternative medicine approaches and experimental movement discipline and dance techniques. And then there’s somatic theory, which is a model of human social behaviour, so I think what’s really common is that it refers to a practice that has to do with the internal body. Often with dance classes you’re dealing with mimicry. Somatics is more about experiential and it’s very personal. It’s a field of bodywork and movement studies that emphasizes an internal physical perception of that experience.”

It can sound complex, but Poitras assures that most classes are for people with varying levels of experience. She pointed to a recent example, where people from several different backgrounds were in one class.

“I’ve been to somatics classes where I’ve got people that are principle ballet dancers, and somebody who is a farmer, or someone who works in an office. I was in one class where there was a male nurse, a pilot, and there were medical people, there were science people, and there were dancers all in a class together. So generally speaking, the work is a pool where anyone can enter at any stage.”

She added that there are some classes at the studio that are for higher levels. It is advised that you check the class descriptions before registering to be sure.

Other than the classes being offered, New Dance Horizons is also taking part in Nuit Blanche, which is a nighttime festival that has been held in cities around the world. The festival showcases Saskatchewan artists that feature some aspect of light in their performances and installations (hence why the festival happens at night). Examples include projection-based works, which is something that New Dance Horizons will feature.

“Edward Poitras and I are going to be animating the sunken garden at the Regina Public Library. We’re going to be doing some projections outside of the building and we are going to be doing a bit of a Culture Day event where you can come and make your own night constellation on a pumpkin. So we’re going to be looking at sky charts. And then we’ll do a procession at eleven o’clock and that will be a dancing procession. [There will] also be paper lanterns as well as the pumpkins.”

That event begins at 7 p.m. on Sept. 29.

Along with the exciting opportunities for the public this season, New Dance Horizons is also offering a special discount to students who may want to check out a class.

“If any students are coming to any of the classes [and] if they’ve never done a class at New Dance, they can get the first class free.”

There are a couple of stipulations, however. Students must prove that they are actually students, and they must call the studio first before coming to book their place and to ensure the class is not full.

The studio, which is also offering Tango lessons every second Tuesday, offers a two-for-one deal for this class, where two people can come together for the price of one registrant. Poitras notes that you don’t have to be a couple in order to come, and that in the past she has numerous pairings of people who come to check it out. So, with one of the focuses of the class being mixing up partners and dancing with new people, Poitras says you never know who you may meet.

“A husband a wife couple I met, I learned that’s where they met, at a Tango class.”

Poitras encourages people to check out the studio’s website (newdancehorizons.ca) or call 306-525-5393 for more information. She has one message for those who are interested:

“Expand your dance and movement horizons.”

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