Q&A with Janet Johnson of Portal Dance

Guelph-based Portal Dance is bringing their new creation, The Returned, to the Virtual Stage at the 2021 Guelph Dance Festival. Here is what Janet Johnson, choreographer, and also the co-founder of Guelph Dance had to say about the work:

GD: What are you most excited about telling the audience about your work?

JJ: I am immensely grateful, humbled and inspired to be working with such amazing local talent.  The Returned is partially based around the idea of knowing where we have been and what we call home.  Knowing that almost all involved have a connection to this place of two rivers as well as varying degrees of connection, history and love within our relationships is a hefty thing of beauty in this life. I am grateful for this rare opportunity for creative exploration and the bringing together of spectacular multi generational artists, their contributions, beauty, sensitivity and spirit!  

GD: Were there any surprising benefits to the process of bringing your work online?

JJ: It is a fantastic challenge and as one who attempts to live a life of as little “screen” time or impact in my life as possible, I found moving from live performance to one of a film, wonderfully surprising, intriguing and creative.  We are moving into our film week knowing that we will need to be massively adaptable and flexible. This keeps the process real & raw.

GD: What do you hope the audience will take away from your work?

JJ: I create dance works in the hopes of building community and connection, attempting to dig around what it is to be human, how we might navigate through any darkness to marvel at what we might find in the form of light.  It is complicated being a human and attempting to articulate some of what we feel and share is of immense interest to me.  My hope is that anyone who sees The Returned will feel the vulnerability, passion and power of what it is to be human and will leave emotionally altered, with questions arising and feel a community connection. 

You can catch the presentation of The Returned “On the Virtual Stage” Thursday, June 3rd at 7PM, followed by a live chat with the artists.

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