Norwegian choreographer Sølvi Edvardsen is in Canada for the first time this month as she tours a recent dance production.
Earlier this week, Edvardsen and her dancer Sudesh Adhana landed in Halifax to begin a series of cross-country workshops and performances of their production, Man. On Jan. 29 Crimson Coast Dance Society presents Man at the Port Theatre.
The production explores the theme of finding the potential of the individual human being. Edvardsen created the piece with Adhana, an Indian dancer who has since moved to Norway.
“I met him 16 years ago now and he was very powerful and at the same time he has this sensitivity in both in his personality and his movements and we connected in a special way. I couldn’t take my eyes from him…” she said. “He’s constantly trying to go in new directions and I like that kind of quality in a dancer.”
Edvardsen said they found common ground in their shared interest in classical Indian dance. She said ideas around identity are also present in Man.
“Being bicultural, I think there’s a very interesting value to that, but it also has its challenges and I think we all experience limitations inside ourselves and also outside ourselves,” she said. “I call it a struggle to find your inner balance depending on who you are.”
The piece also considers the stresses and monotony of modern urban life and the value of returning to one’s roots and thinking about “what is the real of value of life.”
In the production, Adhana makes use of a chair both as a prop and a dance partner. Edvardsen said she brought the chair to sit on during a rehearsal, but in a moment of improvisation Adhana incorporated it into his movements.
Adhana calls the chair “sometimes a toy, a person, a companion … sometimes very modern and other times very ancient. From prison to temple, materialism and spirituality, body and soul.”
“I find it so interesting to constantly try to find new expression, new movements and to work with a dancer that is feeling the same way as me is very, very interesting,” Edvardsen said of Adhana. “It’s really a dialogue between him and me – the person he is and the person I am.”
Crimson Coast artistic director Holly Bright said Man is being presented in many large Canadian theatres and partnered with Dance Victoria to bring it to the Port.
She said the production addresses and expands on many aspects of the kinds of work they present.
“We do a lot of work that highlights culture and culturally-based artists and this is also a wonderful kind of collaboration between two artists from two different countries and cultures and so that was of interest, supporting people’s understanding of others,” she said. “And the world’s just getting smaller and the more that we understand other cultures and are with people from other countries, the more we care is, I think, what happens.”
WHAT’S ON … Crimson Coast Dance Society presents Man at the Port Theatre on Jan. 29 at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $27. Artist talk following the show in the lobby.