Laissez-Faire at Uno Fest 2016. An interview with Freya Olafson.

Laissez-Faire at Uno Fest 2016. An interview with Freya Olafson.

Laissez-Faire is being presented May 27 and 28th in a double bill with okay.odd (by Milton Lim) at Uno Fest 2016.  I had the opportunity to interview Freya Olafson.

What sparked the creation of this show?

‘Laissez-Faire’ was commissioned by and created for Ainsley Hillyard as a solo performance work; it was developed with the generous support of the Alberta Foundation for the Arts & Edmonton Arts Council.

 Is it based in or informed by previous work?

‘Laissez-Faire’ is definitely informed by my previous work. I employed similar methodologies to create my solo works AVATAR (2009), HYPER_ (2013) and CPA [Consistent Partial Attention] (2016). Since 2008 my work has investigated the impact of technology on conception / representation of self and gender. All the works cited above including ‘Laissez-Faire’ were created through a digital collage methodology. I research, select, and manipulate pre-existing content from the web – inclusive of sound, text and video sourced from common platforms such as youtube and vimeo.

‘Laissez-faire’ situates dance within the context of domestic space through the selection of vernacular movement vocabulary and the illusion to the architecture of home through Andrew Beck’s set design.  ‘Laissez-faire’ navigates the relationship between ‘showing’ confidence and ‘demonstrating’ skill in the performance of movement. Ainsley’s monologues are anchored in the format of youtube demonstrations of movement skills, styles and tutorials; it also references the tradition of motivational speeches from dance conventions, which encourage risk taking to become a better dancer. The rich confluence of digital sources for movement and text conveys a contemporary representation of dance within private and public daily life.

Laissez-Faire-okay.odd-1008x756Laissez-Faire/okay.odd Photo: Intrepid Theatre

Have you collaborated with Ainsley Hillyard before? 

This is our first time working together, myself as creator, and Ainsley as performer.

What do you hope to inspire in your audience?

Laissez-Faire is enlivened by Hillyard’s distinctive charisma, theatrical skill and physical performance to ask what has dance become in the age of the Internet? I hope the audience reflects on the vibrancy of dance within our cultural life, and the place of dance in their expression of identity. As well, I hope it brings audience members to consider how our bodies are coded / programmed through the ‘social’ language of dance. Hillyard’s laissez-faire performance deliberately subverts the expression of a gendered chair dance; performing as ‘expert’ tutor Ainsley coerces us to participate in the perpetuation of stereotypes and a falsified performance of confidence. I hope ‘Laissez-Faire viewers and participants reflect on personal expectations of the performing body.

Who will be interested in this work?  What would you say to entice someone to come?  And, any tips for someone who isn’t tuned into the particular language of dance and movement, when it comes to experiencing your work?

‘Laissez-Faire’ utilizes text and character; visually unique it appeals to audiences across communities. It offers strong commentary on dance and expectations of dance through the distinctive stage persona Ainsley embodies. There is also an elective opportunity for audience participation – quite fun and humorous – please join us for the romp!

You are a classically trained dancer who transitioned into multimedia—can you comment about how the disciplines connected for you?

I tend to use the word Intermedia (between media) rather than multi (which implies many or different). I also am incliced to speak of media (communication outlets or tools) rather than discipline (which may reflect ideas of militant rigor and obeyance of rules). I have always been engaged and deeply interested in all the arts; and understood early on that acquiring technique was in order to facilitate broad possibilities for communication. Rather than a transition into an intermedia praxis, I was an avid emergent painter and video artist while I engaged in diverse formal study of dance through the Royal Winnipeg Ballet’s Professional Program, Winnipeg’s Contemporary Dancers and Springboard Danse Montreal. After my BFA Honours in dance from University of Winnipeg was complete, I sought out the Transart Insitute / Donau Universität Krems – MFA program which engaged in cross-disciplinary conversation and has enables me to coalesce the media best suited to my creative concepts.

Laissez-Faire, created and choreographed by Freya Björg Olafson
Performed by Ashley Hillyard
May 27, 8:30pm May 28, 8:30
Metro Studio
Tickets $20. May 27th is also Pay What You Can.
Uno Fest passes $85 for 5 shows.

Unless otherwise noted, tickets available at Ticket Rocket, 1609 Blanshard Street (at Fisgard) or by phone 250.590.6291, Monday to Friday 10am to 5pm.

About @lacouvee

Community Builder. Catalyst. Speaker. Writer. Arts Advocate.

Passionate about bridging online and offline communities to effect positive change.

I truly believe that one person can make a difference and that we all have our own lives to live, creatively, while respecting the unique nature of others.

Speak Your Mind