Dance From The Inside

 Daniel Poulin is the Assistant General Manager of the GCDF. You can often find him MC’ing the outdoor events and teaching theatre during the Arts Explosion Camps. He also works at the University of Guelph in peer-counselling and is the acting-chair of the Board of Directors for Out On The Shelf.

Daniel MC’ing the 2008 Noon Time series. Photo: Anuta Skrypnychenko
Daniel: It’s hard to put into words what excites me about contemporary dance. When I watch dance it’s like I go somewhere else—to a place of possibilities. Each breath, each movement, each pause, each silence is a choice and watching the string of choices combine with the shear athleticism and precision of the artists creates this rush inside me which can sometimes leave me breathless. It pulls me out of my day-to-day self and into a space that is creative, imaginative, playful, dark and wonderful.

Coming from theatre, I knew almost nothing about dance when I started at the Festival four years ago. I have always loved watching dance, since I was little. The dancers captivated me—their sense of total focus. I often wondered where they went when they danced—sometimes I still do.

I started to develop a taste for a particular aesthetic—crisp, clean, dark, precise. Like a machine with many complicated moving parts. Moments of what seem like chaos quickly turn into precise synchronized movements. Simultaneous displays of total control and total abandon. This aesthetic is what draws me—not only to dance, but theatre, visual art, and film.

  Kaeja d’Dance performing Abbatoir  at Maintsge B in 2008. Photo: Anuta Skrypnychenko
Now going into my fifth Festival, I reflect on the over 100 pieces I have been privileged to see. Each one had a unique impact on me. Some fall into my aesthetic taste and others don’t at all. But that’s what I love about the Festival: there are such a variety of pieces, dancers, and styles. I love that the Festival challenges me to look outside of my aesthetic comfort zone—to balance my perspective with the perspective of others. I love that every year I have been surprised and caught off guard.

So bring it 2012—challenge me. I’m counting down the days (133 to be exact).
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