If you think storytelling through dance is almost the sole province of story ballets (hello, Nutcracker season!), you are in for a different sort of treat—and one that will appeal to every age. This weekend, Tara Dyberg and her company, Lotus Body, will premiere La Fille & Rose, a work that uses Antoine de St Exupéry’s beloved Le Petit Prince as a jumping off point to tell a story of “what it means to truly care for someone or something.” Dancers Victoria McConnell, Ashleigh Claire Miller, and Mariko Nagashima join Dyberg in performance at the Fremont Abbey this Friday and Saturday, November 7-8 at 7:30 PM. La Fille & Rose includes an original score by composer Sebastian Barry, whose band, Sebastian and the Deep Blue will play a concert after the performance. SeattleDances caught up with Dyberg to hear a little bit more about the show.
SeattleDances: La Fille & Rose takes its inspiration from Le Petit Prince. Why drew you to this particular work?
Dyberg: The Little Prince was a staple piece of literature growing up in Canada. It’s required reading in many French immersion school systems, and it’s a commonality shared between French and English speaking Canada. I love the messages it conveys about love and friendship, and its reminder to us of how to truly tend to and cherish one another.
SD: We don’t see a whole lot of narrative contemporary dance in this community right now. What are the challenges of creating narrative work with contemporary dance? Have you worked with narrative before as a choreographer?
Dyberg: I have not worked with a narrative before, and this piece was a big undertaking for me. I like the challenge of conveying a specific story, and I think contemporary dance movement vocabulary works well with this. To solve some of the choreographic challenges of conveying a story without resorting to pantomime, I used the help of projection artist, Vincent Hill to project specific text, to help carry the story.
SD: Tell us a bit about the musical collaboration with Sebastian Barry.
Dyberg: The collaboration with Barry has been amazing. Barry has experience working with dance before. He is the kind of musician and sound artist that you only have to suggest themes or concepts to, and he takes care of the rest. He spent a lot of time in the Abbey working directly with myself and the dancers to work out specific timings of each section of music. He would start with the general template and every rehearsal come with more and more embellishments as he crafted the material. We went with whimsical, story-land sounds which was really fun for both of us to work with. We wanted to make the music sound kind of magical, and really take the audience somewhere whether that’s asteroid B-612 or right here on Earth.
SD: This weekend, you are performing at the Fremont Abbey, but it sounds like you also have other venues planned. What kind of audience do you want to reach with these alternative venues?
Dyberg: I would love to reach children, youth, and young adults with this piece. With so many “virtual” on-line relationships happening with this next generation, it’s nice to show a story of characters who discover the heart of their relationship with one another, and demonstrate the work and compromise necessary to keep one another. My larger goals for the piece are to perform in schools, libraries, and perhaps Children Theatres.
La Fille & Rose runs Friday and Saturday, November 7-8, at 7:30 PM at the Fremont Abbey. Tickets can be purchased here, and be sure to check out special pricing for kids and families.