Q&A with Jane Alison McKinney from Wild Rabbit Dance Projects

New this year, the Late Night Series, features There She Was, a solo by Toronto’s Wild Rabbit
Dance Projects. We asked dancer-choreographer Jane Alison McKinney a few questions in 
anticipation of her performance next week.
GD: The theme of the 2019 GDF is “What Moves You” can you share with us what moved you when
working in the creation of There she was?

Photo by Francesca Chudnoff
JAM: When I first started making this solo, I set out to dive into my own personal identity, and a
kind of internal chaos I was finding within myself. But I found it hard to focus my attention inwards,
because when I’d go to work alone in the studio, I would get distracted by the unmanageable
chaos of the outside world that was escalating rapidly. Reality became this obstacle that felt
impossible to tackle as a solo, so I leaned into the idea of escape as well. There she was morphs
through these two polarizing images and physicalities and lets the audience in on this experience
with me. 
The piece has two visual chapters: an androgynous, grounded, embodied figure contrasted with an
exaggerated, hyper-feminine, towering monster. These images came from wanting to escape into
the extreme ends of my own identity, and to mess with normative versions of femininity. I also have
a thing for tiny furniture and super high stilettos, so those are featured as well!
I was very lucky to collaborate with Heidi Strauss as a mentor and outside eye throughout the
creative process. Heidi has been instrumental to my development as an artist, and really helped to
push the potential of what this work could become in significant ways.

Photo by Francesca Chudnoff
GD: Tell our audiences a little bit about what to expect when they come to watch There she was?
Is this show suitable for everyone?
JAM: It’s tricky to determine what is suitable for someone else, but I can say that There she was is a
relatively intense work suitable for a relatively mature audience. It also has nudity, which is
interesting to me, because it’s a feminist work, and if I were a male performer it wouldn’t have that
warning label attached to it. When male artists perform bare chested they are often praised for the
sensitivity and strength of their expression, when women or gender non-conforming people
do it it’s considered provocative. When I perform this solo I try to embody that sensitive strength
others get to feel, and transfer that freedom to my own experience. There she was is the kind of
work I wish I had been exposed to when I was a younger dancer figuring out what it means to be a
woman in the performing arts.

I like that this late night performance ends with a reception, I’m looking forward to getting to chat
afterwards with those that come to watch.  In general I’d say you can expect a bold, physical, semi
theatrical, contemporary dance solo; that might just make you think something or feel something

Photo by Francesca Chudnoff
Check out the trailer for There she was here! The performance will take plance on Friday May
31st at 9:30pm and will be followed by a Festival Reception, free and open to all, at 10:00pm at
Guelph Youth Dance studios, 42 Quebec Street.

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