August, 2015 / Author: Meg Crane

Photo of Brett Owen and Kathleen Hiley by Mark Dela Cruz.
Photo of Brett Owen and Kathleen Hiley by Mark Dela Cruz.
Choreographer Gaile Petursson-Hiley’s Eclipse hits the stage next week.
The show’s description reads, “As the ghostly light of an eclipse steals over the skies, darkness falls and impacts our sense of time and place in a magical transformation from human into creature. Reflecting her love for all animal creatures, Petursson-Hiley paints a moving portrait of humanity and compassion through her choreography. The powerful theatricality and the visceral, elegant movement embodied in this new work Eclipse celebrates beauty, emotion, physicality and vulnerability through contemporary dance.”
We caught up with one of the dancers, Brett Owen, to learn more about the show.
Can you tell us a bit about the production?
Gaile’s choreography is intensely physical and highly evocative. She loves big dramatic movement and music and costumes, but she is also very adept at creating emotive and poignant moments. That means the show is a real journey for us as performers. We have much to accomplish but also a lot to discover. We each have these sort of characters that we play in the show. Sometimes I’m the hunter and sometimes I’m the stag. It’s very exciting as a performer to be given those images to help fill out the story and the movement, and I think it creates a fuller experience for the audience.
Photo of Brett Owen and Kathleen Hiley by Mark Dela Cruz.
How did you get involved?
Gaile is a faculty member at the School of Contemporary Dancers (SCD) and I am a graduate of the professional program so we had worked together in the school several times. Then I was asked to dance in some of Gaile’s choreography in the Drive Dance show during last years Fringe Festival. So luckily after that I was invited to join the cast of Eclipse.
How has it been going?
It’s been fabulous! We had a couple weeks together earlier this year to create the framework for the show, so this time in August has largely been putting those pieces together so it’s been extremely efficient. Though this month I have been doing double duty, Eclipse rehearsal during the day and Rainbow Stage’s Sister Act every night. I have been pushing my body harder than ever before. It’s been difficult but I am very happy to be dancing as much as I am, especially this soon after graduating from the program at SCD.
What is your favourite part about this performance?
My fur vest. Ha ha! Mostly kidding. The costumes really are sensational but I think my favourite part of the show is the duet I do with Kathleen. It’s a really sinister piece, lots of intricate lifts and dangerous moments. The musicality is so satisfying.
Photo of Brett Owen and Kathleen Hiley by Mark Dela Cruz.
Why should people go see it?
I would say the main reason is to feel like you’ve been transported into a fairy tale land. The show creates a whole world of its own and inhabits that place fully. There’s also the insane physicality, the custom built set pieces, the gorgeous music… and also just to support local artists. Winnipeg has such a strong arts community and dance has played a major role in that.
Eclipse is being performed at the Gas Station Arts Theatre Sept. 18 and 19 at 8 p.m.
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