OURO Collective member Dean Placzek shared his thoughts on what it’s like to be part of this unique Vancouver-based dance collective. OURO performs at our In the Park series: Friday, June 2, 7 pm at Hanlon Creek Park and Saturday and Sunday, June 3 and 4, 12 pm at Exhibition Park. PLUS – for teen dancers, they are teaching a workshop using their approach on Sunday, June 4, 9:30 am.
Take a look at the video posted below to get a taste of how they work.
OURO Collective here. We just like to start by saying we are delighted to be a part of the Guelph Dance Festival and look forward to sharing PACE with audiences at the festival. While we look forward to hearing people’s reactions to our show, we’d like to take this opportunity to give you a bit of a behind the scene’s look at what it’s like to work within the collective.
So what’s it like?Well, imagine yourself as a creative individual. With five heads. All trying to create the same thing with radically different ideas.
We strive to meet the true essence of a collective where everyone has a say in the direction of the work. There isn’t one main director, but instead five co-directors. Every idea is considered and tried out. We feel that you never know if something is good or not until you actually try it out and put it to the test. It also allows us to consider some ideas that on an individual level we would never have thought of. Given that we all come from different dance backgrounds, we can get a wide variety of ideas be they from waacking, hip hop, contemporary, or breaking. We then take these ideas reshape and rework them with the context of the various styles we work with. We might create a breaking combo utilizing waacking arm movements as inspiration, or a contemporary phrase with the feel of popping movement aesthetic. Not only has this allowed us to create many new and interesting movements, but it has also fundamentally changed the way in which many of the collective’s members approach dance. Many of us no longer consider ourselves simply a “waacker” or a “bboy.” We are practitioners of movement and most would just consider ourselves dancers.
While it’s extremely rewarding to have this freedom, it does have its challenges. With five co-directors, we have a lot of ideas but that can mean we also have the burden of choice. A lot of what we create just ends up unused and saved for some mystery performance in the future. One other challenge is that while it’s great having many ideas and many contributors, it can also get crowded with ideas and direction. We sometimes explore random tangents to see what’s possible but this leads to longer development times for our shows. It can be difficult to keep things flowing and we often catch ourselves on these tangents and try to steer it back on track. Since we all have different specializations, it can also be difficult to keep it interesting while finding movement that works for everyone. Ultimately, we resolve these challenges largely through everyone having an open mentality towards movement.
We also truly enjoy trying to find weird and abstract movements and try as much as we can to let our personalities shine through in the shows. While it’s important for our collective to produce interesting and thought-provoking work, it’s also important that we convey the essence of dance that is in all of us. That simplicity of movement and enjoyment in the moment while always striving to maintain connection with the audience and with each other is something we try to incorporate in all of our work.