Barbara: Hi all! So happy to meet you here.
To catch you up: I’m Barbara, this year’s GCDF PR go-to and, quite incidentally, Catrina’s sister (GCDF co-Artistic Director).
I’m also going to be the “blog-master”, which means I will make sure you have a steady stream of fresh stories—a new post will go up every Thursday morning from now on. On the one hand, we want to reach out to dance enthusiasts everywhere and share our experiences, on the other, we’d like to get to know each other a bit better. And a blog is a cozy way to do just that.
I’ve been going to the GCD Festival since it began. Of course, Catrina is my sister so one might assume it is my sibling-duty to do so. But I could also (just between us) remind you how easy it would be for me to say: “Oh, it’s too far,” (I live in T.O.), or “I have, you know, important stuff to do,” or “My dog can’t be alone all day,” or some such thing. But the reason I come back year after year after year is because the Festival is quite simply amazing!
I have been moved to shivers, moved to wonder, moved to tears. I’ve watched with bated breath as a dancer or dancers pushed the boundaries of convention and made me think twice about what dance is or how it “should look”. Whether it’s in the sweeping fair-like setting of the park, or in the intimate comfort of the River Run Centre, I can’t remember ever, not once, walking away feeling like my life hadn’t just become a bit more nuanced. Like dance moves had insinuated themselves inside this non-dancer’s body and transformed my DNA somehow.
It’s possible I haven’t liked every single piece I’ve seen—frankly, I don’t remember—it’s certainly possible I didn’t understand every piece, but there is something uniquely exponential about seeing not just one dancer’s voice on stage, but several different ones over the course of each Festival. Like a high tea of movement. If the tea isn’t my, well, cup of tea, then the scones will certainly be to-die-for.
I was thrilled when my daughter began to take dance lessons with Michelle De Brouwer of Company Blonde(a delightful mainstay of the festival over the years) and was able to take part in the GCDF Youth Moves series for several years in a row. This wasn’t just a proud mom watching her daughter, but a dance fan watching a young person absorb the complexity and spirit of contemporary dance. It was a powerful turning point in her adolescent life. Way more rewarding than the simple benefit of “exercise” it might have seemed at the start.
It is a delight and an honour to be part of the GCDF. And I thank you for welcoming me here. So what are my blog-dreams? Well, I hope that you will engage with us, throw caution to the wind and share your own stories and thoughts, either through a blog-post of your own or below each story in the comments section. I hope you will share the blog with your friends on Facebook and Twitter and help us spread the word so that we can build our connections far and wide. Because the more we keep dance alive in everyone’s consciousness, the more support we will garner and develop in our broader communities.
So I’ll leave you with a question: what dance piece comes to mind first when you recall the GCDF’s history? The first one that comes to my mind is one from years ago, a lone dancer centre stage, wriggling out of dozens of layers of clothing—and making it utterly riveting. You?
You can also find Barbara at The Middle Agesblog.