Vanessa Goodman said she wants to transform space and time and make other people feel what’s happening inside of her.
“For me it’s about transference, like when you’re at a show … and all of a sudden you feel the room all moving together in unison because there’s a beat that’s driving them, that’s a really visceral thing,” the Vancouver-based dance artist said. “And I’m curious about how I can do that through dance.”
Six months ago Goodman was in Nanaimo turning Malaspina Theatre into a living video game with Vancouver dance company Plastic Orchid Factory’s production Digital Folk. This month she’s back to present a pair of her own creations: one of her most frequently performed works and a collaborative piece new for this fall.
On Nov. 30 Goodman returns to Malaspina Theatre to present her 2016 solo work Container as well as The Other Half, which she developed with fellow dance artist Belinda McGuire. The evening includes a pre-show talk led by Crimson Coast Dance Society board president Lynda Adams and a post-show discussion led by Nanaimo Art Gallery executive director Julie Bevan.
Goodman said Container is a “pretty personal” piece. She doesn’t like to explain too much about it, preferring to think of it as an ink blot test from which viewers can derive their own meaning or narrative.
“It’s very much a journey of a character or a person embodying different states or accessing different states in terms of accepting identity and grappling with outside pressures or forces pertaining to gender identity or cultural backgrounds,” she said.
The title, she said, refers to her body as a vessel containing many layers and moving parts.
“I have tissue, I have blood, I have muscle, I have bone, I’m made up of a nervous system, circulatory system and all of these things are affected by what’s going on in the world, what’s going on in my personal life and my skin or my flesh contains it,” she said.
Continuing with the biological theme is The Other Half, in which the dancers’ bodies represent immune systems infecting each other with samples of movement, “just like an immune system gets populated with bacteria,” Goodman explained.
“Infection can sometimes be a bit of a battle, or contamination can be a bit of a battle,” she said. “And at other times, in order to become more resilient you sometimes have to make yourself more vulnerable.”
Goodman said the two works fit nicely together, despite being “esthetically quite different.”
“In terms of the works, there’s both a level of intimacy and risk involved in them,” she said. “So even though they’re quite different works, they both share this common fabric or this integral fabric of expressivity and physical rigour that I am interested in as an artist.”
WHAT’S ON … Crimson Coast Dance Society presents Container and The Other Half at Malaspina Theatre, VIU Bldg. 310, on Saturday, Nov. 30. Pre-show chat at 6:30. Performance at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $28 for adults, $25 for students and seniors and $20 for youths under 18. Vanessa Goodman adult workshop at Harbour Dance Studios, 139 Bastion St., on Friday, Nov. 29 at 6:30 p.m. $15 online or at the door.