Marc Arboleda is pursuing a BFA in Dance. Currently in his second year, his primary interests are composition and performance. He's keeping busy in final rehearsals for the fall Dance Mainstage, EPIC, that opens next Wednesday.
EPIC is an ambition project bringing together over 60 dancers to perform three premieres with works by Crystal Pite + Kidd Pivot, Wen Wei Wang and Katie DeVries
Performed by SFU Repertory Dancers, Arts Umbrella Graduate Program Dancers, Modus Operandi Dancers
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What has the experience been like being part of such a large ensemble of dancers?
Well, as I’m sure many of my ensemble mates would agree, the experience has been quite invigorating. Placing more than 60 enthused movers in one space together, at one time, can induce a kind of energy that – combined with a desire to create and perform – can occasion a rich, dynamic atmosphere. It’s been great fun so far.
You are performing in two pieces in EPIC, how demanding has the schedule been for you in rehearsing for the show?
The schedule has been manageable, actually, with just enough time to go over the material outside of rehearsal, and to rest. Naturally, there are moments when, for me at least, the body screams “information overload!” But, at the end of the day, I can’t complain since it’s certainly a charmed life to be dancing this often.
Is it interesting to work on two pieces at the same time with choreographers who have different viewpoints?
Yes, quite. And, I happen to enjoy working with contrasting choreographic ideas simultaneously, so I’m lucky to be working with both Crystal Pite and Wen Wei Wang. Crystal Pite’s choreography emphasizes the sheer physicality of the dancing, framed within large group sections and sequences in canon. Wen Wei Wang’s choreography emphases the individual dancer, framed within solos, duets, group sections, and spoken word. Both, however, are essentially ensemble pieces and are stimulating on several levels. Also, I hasten to add that both pieces are far richer and complex than my brief descriptions of them may have made them out to be.
How does the experience influence your own approach to choreography and performance?
I would think that the experience has, as a matter of course, been very influential. I’m taking a composition class, concurrently with the Repertory class, in which I’m choreographing a solo that I’ll also perform. Working with Crystal Pite and Wen Wei Wang has taught me a lot about dancing as an interpretive artist working within an ensemble, and much about contributing some of my own movement ideas to a choreographer’s piece. I would imagine that this information would soon find its way into my compositional and performance work.
Any highlights that stand out in the process?
Two moments stand out for me: the Crystal Pite rehearsal where the entire cast had performed the piece for the first time, and the first Wen Wei Wang rehearsal where each dancer had to introduce themselves as an improvisation of movement and speech.
What can the audience expect from EPIC?
Three audacious dance pieces performed with passion and verve. Get tickets while they’re still available!
Previously, you have majored in theatre at SCA, what made you decide to also pursue a dance BFA?
I was completing my theatre degree when I had begun the first year of the BFA in dance. Then, at the end of the first year of that program, I was qualified to graduate with a major in Theatre, and so I had decided to do that, leave the dance program, and start to find work. As it happens, my artistic and intellectual interests have recently shifted to a focus on dance making, so I thought it best to resume my dance training at SCA and complete the BFA program. The training offered at SCA, in my experience, has been formative and very useful in equipping me with the tools I need to continually build on and refine my artistic work. The teachers have all been very supportive, and have never failed to challenge me to question my assumptions about contemporary art making. I had little doubt that returning to SCA to complete my dance degree would be the best fit at this point in my career.
How important is taking an interdisciplinary approach to you?
For me, art making is inherently interdisciplinary. That is, the content of the work dictates what form(s) it will eventually take. For example, I’m at the moment creating a dance piece with a classmate that incorporates both dance and theatrical conventions. Though it’s true that our artistic sensibilities are such that making this piece using these conventions is rather natural, the concept of the piece did determine it’s current form. Furthermore, I’ve always found it more fun to have a larger palette to play with.