Kelly Steadman for Women’s Voices

Kelly: Its Wonderful Pictures In Light began as a quartet that I made using 4 senior company members for the Guelph Youth Dance Training Program. Yann Tiersen’s Comptine d’Un Autre Ete was an obvious music choice to me. I was immediately and immensely moved by it, and felt that it was a perfect fit for the emotional range I was to work with. These 4 youthful dancers were incredibly receptive to the movement ideas, and offered themselves genuinely in their interpretation of what I was asking them to do.  I wanted to give them the chance to relate to and interact with each other as well as with this stunning piece of music.  It was really their imprint that caused me to pursue developing it a little further. 

The following year I was asked to be the Co-Artistic Director for Royal City School of Ballet and Theatre Jazz Inc.’s tri-annual performance.  I was given the opportunity to create 10 pieces and couldn’t resist the chance to develop this one into an 8-dancer piece.  I decided to use some of the same movement sequences, but switched the music to Summer ’78, (also composed by Yann Tiersen). The structure of this song is refreshingly simple, and I clearly heard 8 voices blending into one, which fit wonderfully well with the vision I had in mind. 
Kelly Steadman and Robert Kingsbury. Photo by Dakota Burpee.
The concept was inspired by the video produced for this song.  It depicts a day in the life of a young woman in reverse. It sparked a daydream about the thoughts and images that flash at the passing of a person’s life—a sort of 8mm reel of poignant, or perhaps random moments. These might trigger feelings of regret, doubt, certainty, and I would hope… acceptance. The idea that most of the moments we re-experience at passing come from the time before we turn 25, and witnessing the power of influence the youthful dancers have on each other, seemed to make my simple vision seem relevant and honest. 

I used a lot of canon in this dance. To break it down, canon is a choreographic device in which movements introduced by one dancer are repeated exactly by subsequent dancers in turn.  My hope was this would help to depict the replaying of fragments of life images, but also to keep the flow of the piece going to reveal a single voice.  It seemed like a fun and level-appropriate task for the dancers as well! Perhaps I overused it.  It becomes predictable, but then again what’s more predictable than death? 

My wonderful father-in-law passed away in December. I like to imagine what he experienced as this happened. I look for it every time the dancers grace me with their dancing in this piece, which is something I’ve never told them. 

Kelly Steadman received her B.F.A in Dance from Ryerson University in 2003. She currently performs with Dancetheatre David Earle and local independent choreographers.  Kelly is a co-founder of Fall On Your Feet Dance Collective and currently teaches a variety of disciplines at the Guelph Youth Dance Training Program and Royal City School of Ballet Inc. 
On Thursday, March 8th, 2012, and in celebration of International Women’s Day, the Guelph Fab 5 is proud to present Women’s Voices. This fabulous event will take place at 7pm at John F. Ross, E.L. Fox Auditorium, 21 Meyer Drive, Guelph. Tickets can be purchased at the door and all proceeds will go to Guelph-Wellington Women in Crisis. After the show, we invite you to join us for a reception. 

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