Photo: Marc Chalifoux Performer: Ainsley Hillyard

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Humanity is full of wonders. In this theatrical dance choreographed by Pam Tzeng we explore the “Canadian W-H-I-T-E Lady”. Join us as we embark on a journey into whiteness. Let us expose it from the inside out though an absurd yet honest look at the performers’ relationship to whiteness. Let us question it’s impact on the well-being and well-becoming of ourselves and humans in all parts of the living planet.

W-H-I-T-E. What does that spell? What does that mean? Do you/we care? The choice is y/ours.

CREDITS:

Concept, choreography & performance: Pam Tzeng
Created and performed with: Ainsley Hillyard, Krista Lin, Alida Nyquist-Schultz, Kate Stashkol
Rehearsal direction: Richard Lee
Artistic contributor: Alison Kause
Sound design: Dean Musani
Costume design: Elise Jason
Lighting design: Beth Dart
Documentary narration: Omatta Udalor
Documentary text: Mark Hopkins, Richard Lee, Pam Tzeng
Other text: Written/adapted by the performance ensemble and Alison Krause
Song and text references:
– Reflections from the Disney film Mulan, by Lea Salonga
– Fuck You, by Lily Alen & Greg Kurstin
– Visiblizing the Silence: Critical Whiteness in Dance/Movement, by Jaime Duggan
– Planet Earth, Episode 11: Ocean Deep, A BBC Nature Documentary Series

CHOREOGRAPHER NOTES:

The creation of CHEERS & TEARS began with asking the performing ensemble the simple and loaded question “What is your relationship to whiteness?”. For 6-weeks we invited the question and the lived experiences of all involved into the process. We held space for the discomfort, shame, frustration, tears, difficult questions and ultimately mind-numbing and overwhelming complexity of unpacking of what being bestowed with whiteness means for each in of the performing ensemble’s life trajectories. A project filled with both cheers and tears, this commissioned piece is but one expression of the beginnings and continuation of a life long journey of reflection, dialogue and action. It is a genuine effort to confront systemic and internalized white supremacy, what without acknowledging and fighting destroys a bit of our humanity each day.

Thank you to all the performers and collaborators for a compassionate and meaningful process. Thank you Cindé Adgebesan, Loretta d’Antuono, Sasha Ivanochko, Mark Hopkins and Nicolas Brunet Beaulieu for their moral support throughout the creation of this work. Gratitude to all those who witnessed the work in development and offered their honest impressions to help propel the trajectory of the work.